Very very big news and bodes extremely well for any mission we may eventually send to Mars. And the best part is this is just surface soil water content so its no problem to get to.
Full article http://news.discovery.com/space/this...ter-130926.htm
By now, we probably all know that there was once significant quantities of water on the Martian surface and, although the red planet is bone dry by terrestrial standards, water persists as ice just below the surface to this day.
Now, according to a series of new papers published in the journal Science, NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has found that the Mars topsoil is laced with surprisingly high quantities of the wet stuff.
VIDEO: Mars Rover Digs Up Water-Rich Soil!
Curiosity landed inside Gale Crater near the planet’s equator on Aug. 6, 2012, with the explicit mission to seek out habitable environments for life, past and present. Using a sophisticated suite of instrumentation, the rover is gradually piecing together the geological and habitable history of its small corner of Mars.
During science operations at the geologically interesting location called “Rocknest,” Curiosity scooped a sample of fine regolith (pictured top) and dumped it into its on-board chemical laboratory on Sol 71 (Oct. 17, 2012). After analyzing the very first scoop of material from a wind-blown ripple in the soil, it appears that Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) had detected something quite profound.
“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, Dean of Science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, N.Y., and lead author of one of the studies focusing on SAM analysis of Mars ‘fines.’
“About 2 percent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource, and interesting scientifically.”