According to a report on Space.com, our little part of the universe was part of a larger cluster of stars. And a very nearby star exploded into a supernova early in the formation of our system. If further research shows this is true, then that greatly expands the number of places to look for extra-solar planets in the galaxy.
It would be interesting to learn what changes such a close supernova would have had on our solar system. The prevailing theory now is that the moon was formed when a Mars sized object struck the Earth early on in its formation. Could this Mars sized object have been ejected by that supernova? The article doesn’t mention exactly what time the researchers think the supernova occurred so I can’t check the timeline against the moon theory.
But as the winter lingered, Spirit began producing thousands of pages of sometimes rambling and dubious data, ranging from complaints that the Martian surface was made up almost entirely of the same basalt, to long-winded rants questioning the exorbitant cost and scientific relevance of the mission.
“Granted, Spirit has been extraordinarily useful to our work,” Callas said. “Last week, however, we received three straight days of images of the same rock with the message ‘HAPPY NOW?'”