Curiosity scooped up samples of soil for analysis. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Mars Curiosity rover has found a significant amount of water locked up inside soil samples.
The dusty red soil littering the surface of Mars may seem like the last place to find traces of water, but a recent analysis of soil scooped up and tested on board the rover has revealed the presence of a surprising amount of H20.
"If you think about a cubic foot of this dirt and you just heat it a little bit - a few hundred degrees - you'll actually get off about two pints of water - like two water bottles you'd take to the gym," said researcher Laurie Leshin.
"And this dirt on Mars is interesting because it seems to be about the same everywhere you go. If you are a human explorer, this is really good news because you can quite easily extract water from almost anywhere."
Future astronauts beware however - water extracted from the Martian soil is believed to contain a substance called perchlorate which is known to interfere with thyroid function. "It's just something we need to know about now so we can plan for it later," said Leshin.
Source: BBC News | Comments (28)