Water on Mars
Posted on Jul 31, 2008
For the first time, NASA has captured and is analyzing a sample of actual Martian water, which was collected by the Phoenix lander. It will take some weeks to fully process the data and determine whether the Red Planet could ever have supported life, but it’s a promising development for scientists and space nuts alike.
“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,” William Boynton, lead scientist on the mission, said.
Phoenix collected some ice samples last week but was unable to transfer them from the mechanical scoop to the onboard oven for heating and testing.
A dry soil sample was taken instead but the scientists found some ice had been collected too and tests were being conducted on it.
NASA / JPL-Caltech/University Arizona/Texas A&M University
The view from Phoenix: A panoramic tapestry of a Martian arctic plain, stitched together from 400 images taken over weeks by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. Click here to enlarge.