NASA Lander Confirms Water on Mars

'We've now finally touched and tasted it'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2008 8:50 PM CDT
This image provided by NASA shows the full-circle panoramic view of the Phoenix Mars Lander taken during the first weeks after the Phoenix Mars Lander arrived on an arctic plain on Mars in May.    ((AP Photo/NASA))
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(Newser) – The Phoenix spacecraft has tasted Martian water for the first time. By melting icy soil in one of its lab instruments, the robot confirmed the presence of frozen water lurking below the Martian permafrost. Until now, evidence of ice in Mars' north pole region has been largely circumstantial. Scientists popped open champagne today when they received confirmation.

"We've now finally touched it and tasted it," said one. "From my standpoint, it tastes very fine." Phoenix landed on Mars on May 25 on a three-month hunt to determine if it could support life. It is conducting experiments to learn whether the ice ever melted in the red planet's history that could have led to a more hospitable environment. (Read more Mars stories.)