Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.
"Space ... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the rover Curiosity. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
–ARAKUN, CNN.com commenter
As we get more pictures back from the Mars rover Curiosity, readers seem to be talking about it more and more. Light Years asked readers to caption three photos of the Red Planet and got more than 300 responses. The caption above, given by user talkhazin, was one of the three selected by editors. The social media galaxy has been buzzing about the fourth rock from the sun all week.
1. Why we love Mars
2. Drought vs. food
3. Running on a broken leg
4. Fossil research
5. Pet names
This opinion piece by Greg Bear brought out even more joy from our readers, who say space and science are important to our country. We also saw counterarguments from those who think space research is nice but are concerned that there are other things the money is needed for. You could see these views at odds.
fasteddie09: "Mars is important because it is Earthlike. Mars used to be much warmer and wetter than it is today. What went wrong? By trying to understand Mars' history, we can improve our understanding of Earth's geology and climate. When you study only one world, Earth, your knowledge is limited to a data set of one observation. The more you expand that data set, the greater your understanding can become. Closed minds narrowly focused on the ground and the now have little hope of making discoveries."
sandMonkeys: "Wow, go back to watching 'Star Trek,' nerd. We're not going to colonize Mars. That's too expensive and ultimately it gives us nothing in return. It's a pipe dream."
Justanothermonkeyman: "I love the Mars missions! The only sad part is that more people don't care about them. I think it is a shame that most people care about celebrity news more. I mean COME ON - we landed a probe on another planet! That's so amazing and intriguing to me!"
CanadaPride4: "You want to know why I love Mars? Because I don't. It is a big rock that doesn't do anything. It is a stupid big rock."
Some readers were concerned about what humans plan to do on Mars.
iknowthis: "Something tells me that all of this exploration will ultimately move away from finding life or previous life and quickly move to setting up mines to collect new kinds of ore for financial and military applications of the exploring country. We are kidding ourselves if we think it will end otherwise. That's human nature, start out exploring, end up claiming, conquering and fighting over new territory and resources."
This reader was a fan of the article.
Choir Loft: "That was a fun article to read, a rarity on CNN to be sure. Greg Bear knows what he's talking about and doesn't take liberties with the facts unless he lets us know first. Refreshing. Once upon a time, America was all about reaching for the stars. We set the bar, defined the goals and led the pack with our great engines. Today other nations have taken up the cause, and too many folks in America are concerned about losing their piece of the American pie to ET. Most of the scoffers don't realize that if you want a piece of the pie you have to bake a new one from time to time. But that's just me, hollering from the choir loft ..."
Corn is among the crops and products that are being affected by drought conditions in Iowa and the rest of the country. Readers talked about the politics of this Midwestern staple.
seattlite: "Maybe the U.S. should stop burning corn as transport fuel for a while. I think eating should take priority."
bobhope1: "There is a price to be paid for what we do to our environment - and when the environment starts to react, watch out. Expect these problems to escalate. Finally, as to why on earth our taxpayer dollars are used to subsidize the ethanol nonsense, only those illustrious congressman/senators etc. comfortably in the pockets of the industry would know. Can we eat/drink ethanol – if not it is of no substantive use."
Mike Haines: "You realize that making corn cost money, right? If 800 million people pay for more food, more land will get tilled. Farm land all over America is disappearing. Farmers want to farm more, but it is very risky, very hard, and you guys want us poor. Good land is 8K/acre and produces about 50 bushels of wheat. You pay $250 for an iPhone, but heaven forbid wheat goes above $6 a bushel or corn above $10."
A limping Manteo Mitchell said he felt very little pain, just a "cramp," after the U.S. team finished second in the 4×400-meter relay heat. Turns out, he had actually broken his leg during the relay. He said he had missed a step while climbing stairs on Monday, which may have contributed to the injury. But can you really break your leg and feel no pain? Some readers debated, but many congratulated.
drabgreycubicle: "A broken fibula is not painful or a big deal, mine was shattered (along with the tibia). The doctor fixed only the tibia with a rod, fibula still in eight parts. The fibula is small and bears very very little weight. this is a very misleading story that the average person would think is bigger then it is. Truth be told for bone grafts they simply remove parts of the fibula, that is how much you need this bone."
doonerist: "He deserves a medal for dedication and team spirit, but his coach and the team doctor should be sanctioned for not checking the injury before the race."
rapture21: "Now that's a hell of a story! Slap that man on the back and if the USA wins gold, the rest of the relay team should carry him around the stadium on their shoulders draped in the USA FLAG blowing in the wind."
In another science-related story, readers debated the scientific method and the value of fossil research. It's typically a contentious issue for readers.
monomial: "I think basing such theories on fossil evidence alone is not at all accurate. Every few years, we hear of a new discovery that 'rewrites our human evolution.' If the fossil evidence was at all accurate, we would not hear such proclamations. Until science catches up with our fossil knowledge (like DNA testing), I believe we will continue to remap our history. I’m getting jaded with these new fossil 'discoveries' unless tied with other science."
Keith: "That is how we have always learned things, a bit at a time. NO reason to give up on what they are discovering. The academics actually have a harder time with new information than us citizens. They will hold on to a false presumption longer than anyone."
bpuharic: "Evolution is not based on fossils. We have the nested hierarchy of living organisms. We have the testable observations of mutations and natural selection. We can test evolution. Creationism not so much."
StayinAlive: "They are just humans like all of us. Human evolution is a myth. There are all kinds of variations in modern humans. Some with big foreheads, some with shorter limbs, others with thick chins. God created man in his image. He didn't create us from chimps."
A couple of readers said evolution is a topic that is too hot to handle most of the time, so they prefer to discuss such issues online. These particular readers were expressing views in support of evolution, but others have spoken in favor of other views.
Shawn Davis: "People in America are still fighting over this issue. Amazing."
Shawn: "Funny huh? But it is actually impossible to debate this topic with a religious person because they become enraged that their beliefs are being challenged. So doing it via a forum such as this is necessary."
This story is about animals adapting to new names. The writer says they changed their pet's name from Shiloh to Lulu after a dog-sitter came up with the latter while they were away. This got the writer thinking about situations like animal abuse where it might make sense to use a different moniker. Heck, even Tim Tebow changed his dog's name from Bronco to Bronx. But is it weird for our furry friends?
YodarCritch: "One of the reasons dogs are such a successful species in their relationship with humans is their adaptability. Of course you can change a dog's name. It will learn its new name. It may take awhile, but it will adapt. Now, one should not make a habit of changing the dog's name over and over again. I work with a dog rescue organization and pretty much every adopter elects to change the dog's name. And the dogs do just great. As for the story, I feel that it was very rude of the dog watcher to decide to change the name of someone else's dog. It ain't your dog!"
Many readers said they use multiple names for their pet.
ness22: "I must say I much prefer the Lulu name, but I must wonder if this writer is still friends with the nut that changed the dog's name? That is just some odd behavior. Our dog has many nicknames and responds to them all - it has to do with the tone of voice more than the actual words."
This person said their buddy let them know her name somehow.
KanneMe: "I adopted a golden retriever rescue nearly two years ago now. She had joined her previous 'family' (who left her tied up outside alone all day and failed to nourish her properly) on Christmas Eve. They had named her Candy Kane, which is a fine name for a stripper but not so good for a huge, gorgeous, loving bundle of baby dog. We let her adapt in her own time and avoided calling her by any given name, relying on endearments instead. After perhaps a week, she let us know, through animal/companion telepathy of course, that her name was supposed to be Cassie. She has happily responded to that ever since, though she also responds to Girlie and Miss Missy. I'm so sorry she had to suffer through the Candy Kane months, but I am ever so blessed that she found us at the end of her hard road."
Who's a good kitty?
luckyponytoo: "We have a cat who changed her new name. Originally, she was 'Who' because she was a stray. One of our other cats would see her out there and go nuts, and we'd say "Who's out there?" However, she had different ideas once we took her in. She is very vocal and meows all the time when she's interacting with us, so she got a new name–Meowzy."
This person tried to figure out the old name of their roommate's dog in reverse.
A7X4Life: "My old roommate had rescued his/our dog from an abuser, and changed his name to Meathead ... which he answers to along with all of his popular nicknames: Meat, Monster, Mighty Meats, Meatimus, and a few others. One day we were trying to figure out what he might have been named before and we started spitting out names while Meathead was distracted watching his favorite movie, 'Farce of the Penguins' (he likes to bark and growl at the penguins), and would otherwise not be paying attention to us unless we called his name or were eating something. After spitting out various common dog names, he turned his head to respond to us at 'Buddy,' so we figured that was his old name and never said it around him again since his previous owners were horrible to him and had stabbed him in the ribs and threw him in their backyard when my roommate jumped their fence and rescued him. He looks more like a Meathead anyway."
What do you think about the day's many news stories? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.