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Posted: September 27, 2013

Water on Mars may have been pure enough to drink

GREENBELT, Md. —

Not only did Mars once have flowing streams of water, but it's likely that the water would have been pure enough for you to drink according to NASA researchers.

The findings come from soil analyzed by NASA's Curiosity rover, which has been exploring the planet for the past year.

Rock samples taken from an ancient stream bed have revealed key chemicals needed to support life, including; oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon. 

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The findings are perhaps the strongest clues yet that the red planet was capable of supporting life, "We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been there, you would have been able to drink it,” said NASA scientist John Grotzinger.

The amount of water found has also surprised NASA's scientists, ""One of the most exciting results from this very first solid sample ingested by Curiosity is the high percentage of water in the soil," said researcher Laurie Leshin. "About 2 percent of the soil on the surface of Mars is made up of water, which is a great resource." 

Scientists caution though, that although the areas Curiosity has examined could have been habitable there is still no definitive proof that life did exist there.

Curiosity landed in the Gale Crater on the surface of Mars in August 2012 with the mission of determining if the planet could have once harbored life.

See more images of Curiosity and the Martian surface.


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