Nasa’s Phoenix spacecraft has identified water on Mars for the first time.
After digging a trench at the landing site the craft discovered ice by melting frozen soil in one of its on board intruments.
Until now, evidence of ice on the planet has been circumstantial. Scientists at the University of Arizona described the find:
‘‘The way we detected it, that ice, was by noticing the melting. When you heat up material that has ice in it, once you get to the melting point of the ice, it takes a lot more heat in order to melt the ice before you can raise the temperature and so that’s what we saw, we actually saw the melting of the ice’‘
Phoenix landed on the planet at the end of May for a 3 month mission to discover if Mars could support life. But, Scientists are yet to find organic matter in the melted sample.
Nasa plans to extend its study until the end of September to see if Mars was, or could ever be habitable.