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SCIENCE magazine is just out with its breakthrough stories of the year, and leading the way is the discovery that Mars once held vast amounts of water, found with the Martian rovers. (The rovers are still going, by the way, long past their engineered lifetimes.)

“Their finds mark a milestone in humankind’s search for life elsewhere in the universe,” Science said. Should humans ever go to Mars, the rover landing sites will be prime candidates for landing spots.

First runner-up is the discovery of a race of tiny humans on the Indonesian island of Flores, who lived about 18,000 years ago. The magazine called the find “the biggest discovery in half a century of anthropological research.”

Science also listed its “breakdowns” of the year, which included U.S. scientists accusing the Bush administration of putting ideology before science, and French and Italian researchers protested against budget cuts and more.

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