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Large amounts of water found in Mars soil


Posted on Sunday, 29 September, 2013 | Comment icon 28 comments

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)

Tags: Mars


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Sundew on 1 October, 2013, 1:48
If there is water in the soil, even "locked up," it would not surprise me to find microorganisms on Mars that have adapted to the conditions there and can exploit the source. We have algae on earth that has been found inside translucent rocks in Antarctica where there is no liquid water. This would seem to bump up the chances for life greatly.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 1 October, 2013, 10:29
Nope, this doesn't improve the chances of life one iota. This water is chemically bonded to the soil. Unless there is a life form which can heat soil to several hundred degrees without damaging itself in the process and then capture the water vapour given off then this source of water is unusable. There is only one known life form that could use this water and we are it. There are other potential sources of water on Mars. There is still the possibility of life, but this is not not a discovery that improves the chances of finding it. It IS a discovery that improves our chances of survivin... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by DONTEATUS on 1 October, 2013, 17:59
Indeed Waspie Looks Like ITs going to be delayed for a bit now That NASA is Shutt down. Sad day for thousands of those fine people ! Water Rule we need to Keep Looking.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Rafterman on 1 October, 2013, 19:45
I realize that you and a few others around here who get their science off of the History Channel (Colorado Stone anyone) might not understand that this is exactly how science is done. A discovery is made. It is written up in a paper. It is then submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. It is then accepted. That journal then publishes the paper.
Comment icon #23 Posted by DONTEATUS on 3 October, 2013, 2:33
Oh ! My ! just had too !
Comment icon #24 Posted by Zeta Reticulum on 3 October, 2013, 9:20
Yea, every now and then NASA lets bits and pieces out.... water on the moon, water on mars. They know other probes are eventually coming, so don't want to look like dumbos in the eyes of the international community when other nations eventually discover these things..
Comment icon #25 Posted by Lilly on 4 October, 2013, 11:03
Uh...what other countries (other than the USA) have probes on Mars discovering things?
Comment icon #26 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 October, 2013, 12:50
Actually that is the only part of Zeta Reticulum's nonsensical drivel that is true. ESA (in conjunction with the Russians) will be launching a rover to Mars in 2018. Mind you ESA have also been operating an orbiter around Mars since Christmas 2003. Any bets as to whose findings it confirms, NASA's or Zeta Reticulum's? (I'll give you a big clue, it's not Zeta Reticulum).
Comment icon #27 Posted by Zeta Reticulum on 4 October, 2013, 18:19
Uh.. my post says eventually coming


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