New Mars Sample Astounds Scientists, Hints at Water
Rocks may contain clay minerals that form in wet conditions
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Sep 2, 2011 1:46 PM CDT
The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity extends its arm over a light-toned rock, "Tisdale 2," in this photo released by NASA on Sept. 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – Scientists are marveling over the latest discovery by the Mars rover Opportunity, which seems to suggest that the red planet may be more hospitable to life than previously believed. The venerable robot—now 7.5 years into its exploration of the planet—has found a lighter-colored rock that “is different from any rock we've ever seen on Mars,” says the Opportunity’s lead investigator, according to AFP.

The rock, which has been dubbed “Tisdale 2,” has “a composition similar to some volcanic rocks, but there's much more zinc and bromine than we've typically seen,” the investigator explained. That has led scientists to believe that the crater the rover is exploring contains rocks composed of clay minerals that form in wet conditions and that might be better suited to sustain life. Elsewhere in the crater is a shelf of sedimentary rock, which bears veins of material that may have been left by water.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Your Take
79% of people agree
that it's Intriguing
Check Out Another Intriguing Story
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 11 comments
Sep 5, 2011 9:33 PM CDT
Mars is just another body of celestiality that happens to be the 4th planet from our sun. We know that the planet is roasted with Radiation. It has little or no atmosphere. We would be killed instantly. If we lasted two hours that would be a miracle. If it had water, some billion years ago, it evaporated. What makes us think that it will hold water. As in lakes or ponds. Flowers and trees. Irresponsible, naive thinking. If it had water it would have revealed itself. Not even a petrified forest. A petrified forest would be proof there was vegitation once. These scientists sound like adolescent school children. Excited because they see the red dirt. Viking gave us that in the 1970's. Get the hell out of there and go find life where it is. An Exocet Missile needs to be exploded deep into it's soil and end the water myth. Maybe we want to send an oil rig and go for it. I am afraid that the sphere of what makes Mars is just a dry storage shed. I see little or no purpose for this celestial body. But than again, when the Spaniards saw Canada, they said "Ca Nada" "Over here, nothing". But now, it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. "It has water galore".
Sep 3, 2011 11:33 AM CDT
"The venerable rover has found a lighter-colored rock that “is different from any rock we've ever seen on Mars,” Show me little green men and then I'll be astounded, otherwise the story is just pandering by the space\science community creating hysteria in the search for more employment.
Sep 2, 2011 6:42 PM CDT
The Mars rover; 7.5 years into a 90 day mission...Well done...