Scientists say an analysis of a soil sample by the Mars Lander Phoenix
shows that Mars could support life. VOA's Jessica Berman reports.
with the US space agency NASA appear to have finally found what they
were seeking when they sent Phoenix millions of kilometers to the Red
When the lander analyzed soil it had scooped up two
weeks ago, water vapor was released when the lander heated the dirt to
over 538 degrees centigrade.
Sam Kovanis is lead chemist with the Phoenix Mars project at the University of Arizona.
is the first wet chemical analysis on the Martian soil and any other
planet besides Earth, and we were all flabbergasted with the data we
got back," said Sam Kovanis.
To the surprise of scientists, the
soil was not too acidic to sustain life. In fact, Kovanis says it
appears to contain enough minerals that make Earth bound plants
"We basically have found what appears to be the
requirements, the nutrients, to support life, whether past, present or
future, the sort of soil you have there, the type of soil you'd
probably have in your backyard, alkaline, you might be able to grow
asparagus in it really well, strawberries not very well," he said. "And
again, this is one more piece of evidence showing that the soil's out
there by some sort of liquid water action in the history of Mars."
this point, scientists say they are can only measure the chemistry of
the Red planet, not determine what, if any, life inhabited Mars.