Minerals needed for life found on Mars: NASA

June 27th, 2008 - 1:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 27 (DPA) An analysis of dirt on Mars has found nutrients necessary for life, NASA has said. The Phoenix Mars lander Wednesday conducted tests in its wet chemistry lab to measure the soil’s acidity or alkalinity and determine whether it was favourable for life. The soil was alkaline, scientists said Thursday.

“We basically have found what appears to be the requirements for nutrients to support life,” Space.com quoted Phoenix’s wet chemistry lab lead, Sam Kounaves of Tufts University as saying. “This is the type of soil you’d probably have in your backyard. You might be able to grow asparagus pretty well, but probably not strawberries.”

Last week, scientists said Phoenix had found ice in the area.

Since Phoenix landed on Mars in May, it has been digging around its landing spot near the north pole. Mars programme scientists have been using a “follow the water” strategy in exploring Mars, with a view to some day sending a human mission there.

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