Friday, August 1, 2008

Mars Lander: There's Water on That There Planet!

"Water Ice on Mars Confirmed " (July 31, 2008)

"NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has confirmed the existence of water ice on Mars.

"Mission scientists celebrated the news after a sample of the ice was finally delivered to one of the lander's instruments. Phoenix's mission has also officially been extended for one month beyond its original mission, NASA announced today at a briefing at the University of Arizona at Tucson, where mission control is currently based.

" 'I'm very happy to announce that we've gotten an ice sample,' said the University of Arizona's William Boynton, co-investigator for Phoenix's Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA), which heats up samples and analyzes the vapors they give off to determine their composition.

" 'We have water,' Boynton added. '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.'..."

This is very exciting news. Water on Mars makes personal exploration of the planet a much more practical possibility. Add nitrogen and a few more elements, and enclosed spots on Mars could be made downright homey.

Other posts, about "Mars, Mostly."

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