While Curiosity is searching for some sort of past life form on Red Planet, it continues to send valuable data back to Earth. A few days ago NASA.gov wrote that there are no traces of methane on Mars and yesterday it made a more interesting announcement: Curiosity found water in surface samples.
We already knew that the Red Planet had solid water at the poles, but the discovery of water in the surface samples was a huge surprise. What’s even more interesting is that 2% of the soil of Mars is water. If the Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) measurements are correct, on Mars there is 0.03 liter of water per cubic meter of material. Along with this discovery collapses the theory that the Red Planet is composed only of very dry deserts.
To prove the strong presence of water, Curiosity’s instruments heated the raw collected samples to 1,535 degrees F (835 C). After that, SAM (depicted in the image above) has analyzed the CO2 emissions of the heated material and concluded that the sample contains unexpected amounts of water (2%). It also found “chlorine and oxygen, likely chlorate or perchlorate”. Admittedly, the percentage is much lower than a similar sample taken from Earth’s surface, but still…
image and source credit: Nasa.gov and NASA/JPL-Caltech