Mars rover “curiosity” finds water in the martian soil

Mars rover "curiosity" finds water in the martian soil

The water content is around two percent, as scientists led by laurie leshin from the rensselear polytechnic institute in troy (new york state) report in the u.S. Journal "science". Furthermore, the rover stole, among other things, significant amounts of carbon dioxide, oxygen and sulfur compounds in the ground.

"One of the most exciting results of this very first solid sample, the "curiosity" the high water content," leshin reported in a news release from her university. This is not only scientifically interesting but also a remarkable resource. "We now know that there should be abundant and easily accessible water on mars," leshin emphasized. "If we send people there, they could pick up the soil somewhere on the surface, heat it up a bit and have water."

The rover had heated a shovelful of martian soil to 835 degrees celsius in a special analysis chamber ("sample analysis at mars," SAM). The water came loose from the sample. The measurement also revealed a chlorine-oxygen compound previously known only from the high latitudes of the red planet.

The equipment also examined the relationship between the different hydrogen and carbon variants (isotopes) in the soil. These isotopic ratios match those in the martian atmosphere, suggesting a close interaction between sand and air. The researchers concluded that the loose martian soil is blown over the entire red planet.

"Mars has a kind of global layer, a layer of surface soil that has been mixed and dispersed by the frequent dust storms," leshin explained. "A shovelful of this stuff is something like a microscopic collection of mars rocks. If you mix a lot of grains, you probably get an accurate picture of the typical mars crust. By studying this in one place, you learn something about the whole planet."

Researchers also learned of water deposits from another find of the mars rover: the first rock that "curiosity" examined on the red planet differs from all other known martian rocks, as another team of researchers reports in "science. The pyramid-shaped, volcanic rock christened "jake_m" is a so-called mugearite. This volcanic rock is formed on earth under the influence of water deep below the surface.

This indication of possible water deposits deep below the surface of mars is not rock-solid, he says. But the discovery of the stone is significant from another point of view, co-author martin fisk of oregon state university said in a news release. "It suggests that the interior of mars is made up of regions of different compositions. Perhaps mars has never been as uniformly mixed as the earth by its plate tectonics and convection processes."

The "curiosity" rover of the U.S. Space agency nasa was launched on the 6th of march. August 2012 landed in the gale crater near the mars equator.

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