Home Science & Technology Mars water found in Curiosity soil samples

Mars water found in Curiosity soil samples


According to an analysis done onboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, there is a surprising amount of water bound up in the soil of Mars.

When it heated a small pinch of dirt scooped up from the ground, the most abundant vapor detected was H2O.

Curiosity researcher Laurie Leshin and colleagues tell Science Magazine that Mars’ dusty red covering holds about 2% by weight of water.

This could be a useful resource for future astronauts, they say.

Curiosity soil samples showed that Mars' dusty red covering holds about 2 percent by weight of water

Curiosity soil samples showed that Mars’ dusty red covering holds about 2 percent by weight of water

“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,” Dr. Laurie Leshin explained.

“And this dirt on Mars is interesting because it seems to be about the same everywhere you go. If you are a human explorer, this is really good news because you can quite easily extract water from almost anywhere.”

The revelation about the amount of water chemically bound into the fine-grained particles of the soil is just one nugget of information to come from a series of five papers in the respected journal describing the early exploits of the rover.

Some of this data has been reported previously at science meetings and in NASA press conferences, but the formal write-up gives an opportunity for the wider research community to examine the detail.

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James is a professor in Science. His writing skills brought him to BelleNews. He enjoys writing articles for the Science and Technology category. James often finds himself reading about the latest gadgets as the topic is very appealing to him. He likes reading and listening to classical music.