Tags: NASA | Mars | Lander | ice

NASA: Mars Lander May Have Detected Ice

Friday, 20 Jun 2008 11:25 AM

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The U.S. Space Agency NASA says it believes its Phoenix Mars lander may have uncovered bits of ice on the planet.

NASA says the lander's robotic arm dug a trench in the Martian arctic June 15, exposing bits of a bright material that were photographed.

The dice-size crumbs completely disappeared over the course of a few days, leading investigators to believe that the material was frozen water that vaporized after it was exposed.

The mission's lead investigator, Peter Smith, said the material's disappearance "is perfect evidence that it's ice."

The agency initially believed the bright material may have been salt, but Smith said salt would not have evaporated as the material did.

The Phoenix probe landed on Mars on May 25.

It was designed to use its onboard laboratories to test Martian soil to learn the history of water on the planet and to look for the presence of organic compounds.

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