Man has been fascinated with the universe since the early days, when there were no telescopes or rockets, and certainly no NASA and its rovers. One of the agency’s rovers on Mars, Opportunity, has found traces of ‘drinkable’ water on the Red Planet. This is the first time that evidence of such neutral or non-acidic chemistry water has been found on the planet. The discovery was made after a Martian rock which has clays formed in non-acidic water was analyzed by Opportunity.
Opportunity’s lead scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University (the lead scientist for the Mars robotic missions) said that the exciting thing about this discovery is that it hints at the existence of neutral water in the very, very early days of Mars, adding that “this is water you can drink”. By saying that he is simple referring to the fact that if there was more of this water on mars, it would not be non-toxic to humans, hence the use of “drinkable”.
The rock that was examined is called Esperance, its located at the Endeavour Crater, it took Opportunity three years to reach the rim of this impact basin. Esperance was discovered to have clays rich in aluminium, which scientists believe is a sign that neutral water once flowed through this rock. Opportunity does not have a drill or on-board chemistry lab like NASA’s Curiosity rover does, it used basic mineralogy to determine the once possible presence of ‘drinkable’ water on the neighboring planet. [Image via NASA]