Water on Mars: NASA’s Opportunity Rover Finds Evidence That Red Planet May Have Supported Life
NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity has made perhaps the biggest discovery of its nearly 10-year career, finding evidence that life may have been able to get a foothold on the Red Planet long ago.
The Opportunity rover spotted clay minerals in an ancient rock on the rim of Mars’ Endeavour Crater, suggesting that benign, neutral-pH water once flowed through the area, scientists said.
“This is water you could drink,” Opportunity principal investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University told reporters today (June 7), explaining why the rock, dubbed “Esperance,” stands out from other water-soaked stones the rover has studied. [Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Life (Photos)]
“This is water that was probably much more favorable in its chemistry, in its pH, in its level of acidity, for things like prebiotic chemistry — the kind of chemistry that could lead to the origin of life,” Squyres added.