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No more bets on finding Martian life

After finding this, I looked for a betting site on the web that was either (a) still taking bets or (b) would at least quote recent odds. I couldn't find either. It looks like the short note at's Astronotes for March 3 will not be hanging around, so I am taking the liberty of quoting it in its entirety:

Bookies Stop Taking Bets on Life on Mars

LONDON (AP) -- The information coming in from the Mars rovers is exciting for NASA, but it's ending some of the action for bookies in Britain.

The bookmaking firm Ladbrokes announced it's stopped taking bets on the question of whether there was ever life on Mars.

NASA scientists said yesterday that the rover Opportunity found strong evidence to suggest at least part of the Red Planet once had a wet enough environment to sustain life.

A Ladbrokes spokesman says the latest odds in favor of past life on Mars were 16-1. Back in the '70s, when the first bets were placed, the odds were 1,000-1.

He says he expects that scientists will find evidence of past life on Mars within the coming years.

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