Curiosity rover has made another significant discovery – an indication of water presence on Mars. The rover found clay minerals when it drilled into a Martian rock.
Curiosity project scientist, John Grotzinger said, “We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that, if this water had been around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it.”
The discovery reveals that Mars could have supported living microbes in past. The rover gathered powder from the rock which contains sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon giving us an assumption of life on Mars. Principal investigator for Curiosity’s CheMin instrument, David Blake said, “I think this is probably the only definitively habitable environment [outside of Earth] that we have described and recorded.”
The powder sample is analyzed by two on-board laboratories – Sam and Chemin. There is 20-30% smectite in the powder sample. They are highly abundant and low salt level. This all suggests a fresh-water environment on Mars.
Grotzinger says, “We have characterized a very ancient, but strangely new ‘gray Mars’ where conditions once were favorable for life.”