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Curiosity detects water and perchlorates in Martian soil
Posted: Fri, Sep 27, 2013, 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT)
MSL self-portrait, November 2012 (NASA/JPL) Martian soil contains several percent water by weight, but also may contain a toxic chemical, scientists analyzing data from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover reported Thursday. In one of a series of papers published in the journal Science, researchers said the first scoop of Martian soil analyzed by the rover's SAM instrument found that it contained about two percent water by weight. While scientists said that water could become a useful resource for future human explorers, the Curiosity data also revealed the presence of perchlorates in the Martian soil, a toxic chemical previously detected by the Phoenix lander mission in Mars's polar regions. Among the findings in the other papers published in the journal is that a Martian igneous rock studied by the rover has a chemical composition enriched in sodium and potassium that makes it more like a type of terrestrial igneous rock than other Martian rocks.
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