NASA scientists say they are "flabbergasted" to find that soil on Mars
appears rich enough to grow such Earth-bound plants as asparagus.
space researchers revealed the results of their first "wet" chemical
analysis of Martian dirt Thursday and said it is not as acidic as
expected, appearing to have the requirements and nutrients to support
The sample was taken two weeks ago by the Mars Lander
Phoenix, then heated to over 538 degrees Celsius. At that point, the
sample released water vapor. The scientists said the the dirt is
similar to that in a typical backyard.
As exciting as the
scientists find the discovery, they point out that they can study only
the chemistry of Mars, not whether anything has ever lived there.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.