NASA’s mission Phoenix Mars Lander has discovered water on Mars land and put strong chances of life on the planet. Scientists confirmed the news on Thursday saying that they had definitive proof that water exists on Mars after further tests on ice found on the planet in June by the Phoenix Mars Lander.
“We’ve seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted,” said William Boynton, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer instrument on Phoenix.
Phoenix, which was landed on Mars in May to discover the presence of water, the most important ingredient for life sampled ice which were seen melting away in photographs taken by the Lander’s instruments in June.
Expecting some more useful information about sustaining life on red planet the Phoenix mission was extended by 5 more weeks the otherwise three month scheduled mission.
“We are extending the mission through September 30. The extension will add about $2 million to the $420 million cost of landing Phoenix on May 25 for what was a scheduled three-month mission” said Michael Meyer, chief scientist for NASA’s Mars exploration program.
Boynton said that after the Lander’s robotic arm delivered a soil sample on Wednesday to an instrument, presence of water was confirmed by vapors produced by heating.
“We are moving towards understanding whether there were or could be places on Mars that are habitable,” said NASA scientists, who described the findings as a “huge step forward.”