The red planet is ever full of surprises recently, now Curiosity has found that the planet actually contains 2% water by weight, which I’ll have you know is a lot! So much so that you could extract roughly 2 pints (1 liter) of water out of every cubic foot of Martian dirt.
This is effectively a huge moment in Mars exploration, it’s one of the big questions answered and it will now leave many more questions to be answered, it may even be the thing that opens up the door to sending people to mars for exploration and beyond.
Curiosity was sent to find if mars was ever habitable enough for microbial life, something it proved was possible last March, albeit it was habitable billions of years ago.
Laurie Leshin, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. said “SAM [one of the sensors on the rover] also determined that the soil water is rich in deuterium, a “heavy” isotope of hydrogen that contains one neutron and one proton (as opposed to “normal” hydrogen atoms, which have no neutrons). The water in Mars’ thin air sports a similar deuterium ratio. That tells us that the dirt is acting like a bit of a sponge and absorbing water from the atmosphere.”
Unfortunately the soil also contains a lot of Perchlorate, which isn’t exactly good for humans but it’s just one of many obstacles we could face on the planet should we ever explore there. At least we’ve got a head start on water supplies.
Thank you Space for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Space.