We've Found Water on Mars—a 'Surprising Amount'
Two pints per cubic foot of soil, to be exact
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff | Suggested by BakeBrains
Posted Sep 27, 2013 7:18 AM CDT
Updated Sep 27, 2013 7:50 AM CDT
This photo released by NASA shows a self-portrait taken by the NASA rover Curiosity in Gale Crater on Mars.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – If you hear a dull roar, it's probably just the collective scream of science buffs the world over. NASA's Curiosity rover has found water in Mars' soil, and the BBC describes it as a "surprising amount." The find occurred at the hands of Curiosity, which scooped up a bit of dirt, heated it to 1535 degrees Fahrenheit, and found about 2% of that soil, by weight, was H2O, bound to other minerals. The news came from a series of five papers published in Science yesterday, and it's knowledge future astronauts can make real use of. "If you think about a cubic foot of this dirt and you just heat it a little bit—a few hundred degrees—you'll actually get off about two pints of water—like two water bottles you'd take to the gym," explains Curiosity researcher Laurie Leshin.

And it's not just the amount, but the extent, that's interesting: "This dirt on Mars ... seems to be about the same everywhere you go," says Leshin, meaning those astronauts could "quite easily extract water from almost anywhere." But Gizmodo shares a bit of a buzzkill. "We didn't find evidence of organic molecules in the soil. So, this doesn't have a very big bearing on the life on Mars discussion," Leshin explains. And the Guardian has a warning for those future visitors: The soil they'd be exposed to also contains perchlorate, which hinders thyroid function.

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Sep 28, 2013 2:50 AM CDT
1535 degrees Fahrenheit is not "heating the soil a little bit"... or is there a missing decimal someone typoed? Anyone who thinks such over-excited information is an "aquifer" is greatly over-excited. The scientific parameters are quite discouraging, actually. Mars remains as "The Angry Red Planet". Our moon is much more hospitable.
Sep 28, 2013 1:29 AM CDT
Mankinds greatest achievement ; space exploration. There's water there for future consideration. To drink or to convert to energy ( hydrogen + oxygen ). It's amazing to look back. It's been almost 45 years since we put man on the moon. How long before we put man on Mars ?
Sep 28, 2013 1:05 AM CDT
When they find a lake on mars, then I will be impressed.