Our favourite rover just made its biggest discovery to date: Unfortunately it’s not any kind of confirmation of this squirrel it found earlier. This discovery however, is the next step in confirming life on Mars. Curiosity found water molecules bundled together with other minerals in the soil on Mars. The news came in Yesterday when NASA published the discovery on Science Magazine.
Researchers say that every cubic foot of Martian soil contains about two pints of liquid water. This means that bout two percent of the Martian soil is made of up water. Curiosity is coming closer and closer to its next massive discovery, finding signs of organic life on Mars. With this discovery, and its previous discovery of water found in a clay type material, it is becoming all the more likely that there are organic material on Mars.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Dean of Science Laurie Leshin shed some light on the discovery, and what it means for Curiosity:
Although we found water bound up in the soil particles, it’s still pretty dry. Also, we didn’t find evidence of organic molecules in the soil. So, this doesn’t have a very big bearing on the life on Mars discussion. However, we now know that our instruments are working beautifully, and our next step is to drill into rocks that may have been better places to preserve evidence or organics and of wet environments that could be suitable for life.
Here’s the tweet Curiosity made:
Waters of Mars: I found H2O molecules bound in rocks/dust, not liquid water. When heated to 150-300 C, the minerals release water vapor.
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) September 26, 2013
[Curiosity Rover finds water on Mars: Source]