Phoenix lander finds water on MarsAugust 1st, 2008 - 4:20 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Aug 1 (DPA) The Phoenix Mars mission has found water in a soil sample after spending the last two months examining the red planet for evidence that it could support life, NASA scientists said Thursday. The spacecraft’s robotic arm has dug several trenches in the Martian soil near the planet’s north pole and been heating soil samples in a series of small “ovens.”
It had earlier spotted chunks outside the rover that scientists had identified as ice, but data sent back by the most recent soil sample for the first time showed water inside Mars’ dirt, researchers said.
“We’ve seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted,” University of Arizona scientist William Boynton said.
Phoenix had also earlier identified minerals necessary for life in soil samples.
NASA also said Phoenix’s mission will be extended through September.
Phoenix landed on Mars May 25 and its mission was to last three months. Instead the US space agency will spend another 2 million dollars for a few extra weeks of research, chief scientist Michael Meyer said in a press conference from Tucson, Arizona.
During the extension of the mission, scientists said, Phoenix will dig and examine two more trenches. The added time will also allow them to collect more data about the seasons on Mars and take more photographs of the planet.
Meyer described the mission as a step toward “understanding whether there are places on Mars that have been or even might still be habitable.”
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- Scientists find signs of flowing water on Mars - Aug 05, 2011
- NASA's Odyssey orbiter to pass Martian career longevity record - Dec 10, 2010
- Life ruled out on Mars after 600 mn year drought - Feb 05, 2012
- NASA's Mars Orbiter completes 5-yr mark - Mar 10, 2011
- New device unveils more mysteries about Maritan atmosphere - Oct 15, 2010
- NASA to launch new mission to Mars Saturday - Nov 24, 2011
- Mars had a wetter and warmer climate in the recent past - Jul 03, 2009
- NASA probe confirms theres water on Mars! - Aug 01, 2008
- Life on Mars found but destroyed by mistake - Apr 14, 2012
- Viking discovered organics on Mars: Study - Jan 05, 2011
- Mars had 'recent' interaction with water and volcanoes, finds study - Sep 10, 2010
Tags: chief scientist, last two months, mars mission, mars odyssey orbiter, martian soil, martian water, michael meyer, mission scientists, nasa scientists, north pole, phoenix lander, red planet, research chief, robotic arm, soil samples, university of arizona, us space agency, water ice, water on mars, william boynton