Evidence of water found in Martian soil

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http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/curiositys-sam-instrument-finds-water-and-more-in-surface-sample/#.UkTyTz8pnjK

Curiosity has found evidence of water in the martian soil – with its very first scoop.

"One of the most exciting results from this very first solid sample ingested by Curiosity is the high percentage of water in the soil," said Laurie Leshin, lead author of one paper and dean of the School Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "About 2 percent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource, and interesting scientifically."

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/26/nasa-curiosity-rover-mars-soil-water
 

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  • #2
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So what does this find mean for us exactly? Can we use it for colonization? Does it tell us more about Mars's history? By the way, is it really liquid or mineral hydration?
 
  • #3
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So what does this find mean for us exactly? Can we use it for colonization? Does it tell us more about Mars's history?
Well for a start it means there probably is or was some sort of life on mars at one point or another. If there is water just a few inches deep in the surface, there may well be large quantities deeper down that humans could use should we ever try to colonise mars. I'm not exactly sure of the real significance it has to man on Earth, but I'm pretty sure finding water elsewhere in the universe is the primary ingredient for life to exist.
 
  • #4
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2 percent actually seems like a lot. That's very surprising.
 
  • #5
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By the way, is it really liquid or mineral hydration?
I am not sure but I think the article is implying mineral hydration as it says
Laurie Leshin said:
"About 2 percent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource, and interesting scientifically."
Bolding mine.
EDIT: The paper confirms it.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/341/6153/1475
No hydrated phases were detected. However, as shown by Leshin et al., pyrolysis of Rocknest fines using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite revealed volatile species, probably in the amorphous component, including H2O, SO2, CO2, and O2, in order of decreasing abundance. ChemCam measurements of these materials also revealed the presence of H. It is likely that H2O is contained in the amorphous component and CO2 was liberated via the decomposition of Fe/Mg carbonates present below the XRD detection limit of 1 to 2%. Isotopic data from SAM indicate that this H2O, and possibly the CO2, were derived from the atmosphere.
Well for a start it means there probably is or was some sort of life on mars at one point or another.
mmm...Don't think so, presence of water doesn't imply life, though it certainly makes it a tiny bit more probable. We should wait till SAM confirms presence of any organic compounds and even then the chances as far I understand are quite low...
 
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  • #6
The atmosphere did not only blow off but the surface absorbed it. There is so much water in the soil.
 
  • #7
Chronos
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The quantity of water in the soil was rather shocking. It is probably easily enough to be a usable resource for human explorers.
 
  • #8
phyzguy
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I think you misinterpreted the findings. Where did you see that the water is "liquid"?
 
  • #9
D H
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There is so much water in the soil.
Two percent water is very low by Earth standards. That's the residual water content that remains in the top 30 cm of the soil of the driest of sandy deserts after years without precipitation.
 
  • #10
D H
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I think you misinterpreted the findings. Where did you see that the water is "liquid"?
I agree. The thread title is rather misleading. I'm sorely tempted to use (abuse?) my ability to change the title. I suspect the OP was mislead by news reports that did the misinterpretation for him.
 
  • #11
MathematicalPhysicist
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Well for a start it means there probably is or was some sort of life on mars at one point or another. If there is water just a few inches deep in the surface, there may well be large quantities deeper down that humans could use should we ever try to colonise mars. I'm not exactly sure of the real significance it has to man on Earth, but I'm pretty sure finding water elsewhere in the universe is the primary ingredient for life to exist.
A primary ingredient for life as we know it, here on earth.
Doesn't mean it's the only possible living form.
 
  • #12
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A primary ingredient for life as we know it, here on earth.
Doesn't mean it's the only possible living form.
Agreed. Sorry if I included the word liquid in the title aswell. The reason I did is as follows

"Dirt sample reveals two pints of liquid water per cubic feet, not freely accessible but bound to other minerals in the soil" - TheGuardian Newspaper that I linked as a source.

My bad
 

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