This past week (July 23-29, 2018) has displayed a wealth of Mars News. Leading off the week was a US Congressional hearing about the “Journey to Mars.” The big scientific news from Mars was the discovery of what appears to be an underground lake 20 km long, which if it proves true, would amount to the first confirmed liquid water on Mars. In addition, Mars is passing through opposition with the Earth (on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun), in its closest pass in 15 years. And Elon Musk. What is perhaps most interesting in the news coverage is in the great diversity of the story angles. Putting Boots on Mars Requires a Long-Term Commitment, Experts Tell Senators

UPI: Experts, lawmakers: NASA should focus more on Mars, less on moon
Prof. Dava Newman (MIT), former NASA Associate Administrator, gives a powerful presentation in the video.

Washington Post Experts explain the importance of exploring Mars
Peggy Witson, former Astronaut with the most time in space of any woman, gives a solid presentation. Dava Newman is magnificent.

THE UNDERGROUND LAKE ON MARS raises the prospect of many interesting explorations and discoveries ahead. It suggests that Mars may be layered with a subterranean, er, submartreanean water table. There may be underground canals, indirectly fulfilling the canali fantasies of the 19th century astronomers Schiaparelli and Lowell. These bodies of water may harbor signs of life past or present.

Reuters: Underground lake found on Mars, raising possibility of life

Scientific American: Deep within Mars, Liquid Water Offers Hope for Life
Radar observations have revealed what appears to be a buried lake on Mars, the first-ever stable reservoir of liquid water found on the Red Planet

This article by Dennis Overbye in the NYT hits all the recent Mars stops: exploration, the lake, close approach to the Earth (opposition), Giovanni Schiaparelli's canali, Percival Lowell's canals, and even Elon Musks wish to die there.
NYT: Mars is Frigid, Rusty and Haunted: We Can't Stop Looking at It
An oasis in the sky inspires our imagination. A series of discoveries refreshes our yearning for the red planet.

CNN: Don't pack your bags for Mars just yet
This article presents a note of caution with the skeptical view of the significance of the lake of liquid water—it is at least a km or more below the surface and probably saltier than seawater on Earth.

MARS AT ITS CLOSEST OPPOSITION (APPROACH) TO THE EARTH IN 15 YEARS. Mars at Opposition 2018: How to See It and What to Expect
Samantha Matthewson performs a STEM public service by labelling Mars' close approach to Earth by its correct astronomical term: Opposition

LA Times: Mars Makes Closest Approach to the Earth
In contrast with, which said it correctly, the LAT makes it sounds like than Mars is sidling up to the Earth—— and then what?

UPI: Hubble Snaps Photos as Mars Makes its closest Approach to Earth
The UPI commits the same error as the LAT, but redeems itself somewhat with a practical angle: NASA took advantage of Mars opposition to take some pictures.


Finally the San Jose Mercury News, the paper of record for Silicon Valley compiled some Elon Musk quotes, including nuking Mars to make it warmer.
SJMN: Seven of the Wildest Things Elon Musk has Said