Phoenix Mars Lander Confirms Frozen Water

Scientists relishing confirmation of water ice near the surface beside NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander anticipate even bigger discoveries from the robotic mission in the weeks ahead.

The key new evidence is that chunks of bright material exposed by digging on June 15 and still present on June 16 had vaporized by June 19. “This tells us we’ve got water ice within reach of the arm, which means we can continue this investigation with the tools we brought with us,” said Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station, lead scientist for Phoenix’s Surface Stereo Imager camera. He said the disappearing chunks could not have been carbon-dioxide ice at the local temperatures because that material would not have been stable for even one day as a solid.

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