Soil on Mars is good for growing food
July 2, 2008, 1:16 pm
Filed under: mars, NASA, Science and technology | Tags:

Soil on Mars is good for growing food

June 26, 2008

There is still no answer to the old question of whether there has ever been life on Mars but apparently there could be vegetable life.

NASA scientists say the soil they have collected from the northern polar regions of the red planet would be good for growing asparagus and turnips, but probably not strawberries.

The Phoenix Mars Lander scooped up soil with its robotic arm and scientists say the sample is similar to dirt found in some backyards on Earth.

The project’s lead chemist, Samuel Kounaves, from the University of Arizona says he is flabbergasted by what has come back.

“We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients to support life, whether past present or future,” he said.

“The sort of soil you have there is the type of soil you’d probably have in your backyard, you know, alkaline.

“You might be able to grow asparagus in it really well – strawberries probably not really well.”

Glen Nagle from the NASA tracking station in Canberra has been watching the soil analysis and its results closely.

“What they’ve found is the soil wasn’t really acidic or over salty and actually we had a nice pH level it was quite alkaline, not acidic,” he said.

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Scientists: It Once Rained On Mars

Wired Magazine
June 25, 2008

Drizzle once fell on Martian soil, according to a new geochemical analysis by Berkeley scientists, though the rain probably stopped several billion years ago.

Drawing on soil data from the five missions to Mars before the current Phoenix Lander and comparing it to information collected in Earth’s driest places, the scientists concluded that water must have fallen from above, not welled up from below, as has been thought.

“The soil acts as a sort of an imperfect record of climate change,” said Ronald Amundson, UC Berkeley professor of ecosystem sciences and the study’s lead author. “We can study the chemistry of the soil and extract information about climate history.”

Amundson’s key observation is that Martian soil has a layer of sulfates sitting on top of chlorides. That’s a pattern consistent with water moving downward from the atmosphere to the regolith in places on Earth.

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Martian Skies

June 20, 2008

Martian Soil Can Support Life

Buzz Aldrin Wants More Funds For NASA

Giant Asteroid Flattened Mars Studies Suggest

Astronomers on Verge of Finding Earth’s Twin


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