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WATER on the RED PLANET: NASA rover cooker bakes ‘high percentage’

NASA scientists have reached a milestone in their quest to find life on the Red Planet after discovering significant traces of water in the Martian soil.

The Mars Curiosity Rover discovered water when investigating the very first scoop of soil it took from the surface of Mars.

The extraterrestial explorer analysed the dusty sample in its belly and found that about one part in every 50 of Mars’ soil is made up of H2O. Boffins said this could help future missions to Mars, as astronauts would (in theory) simply have to heat the Martian topsoil in order to produce drinkable water.

“One of the most exciting results from this very first solid sample ingested by Curiosity is the high percentage of water in the soil,” said Laurie Leshin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Dean of Science and author of a report on the findings. “About 2 per cent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource, and interesting scientifically.”

Curiosity touched down in Gale Crater on August 6 last year and immediately set about trying to find life on the red planet. It is the first rover to have the ability to analyze rock and soil samples and is armed with a chromatograph, a mass spectrometer and a tunable laser spectrometer, which can be used to identify chemical compounds and work out which key element isotopes are present in a sample.  Read More

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Posted on September 27, 2013, in #technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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