11:28 14 March 2013
NASA scientists believe that they are one more step closer in proving that Mars, the red planet, has supported life in distant past.
NASA’s robot, Curiosity rover, has drilled into a rock containing clay minerals, which indicates the formation or neutral water.
One of Curiosity’s project scientists John Grotzinger said: "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."
The rover drilled a powdered samples from Gale Crater; the exploration site which is a deep impact bowl on Mar’s equator. The sample, which was sent to two big onboard laboratories, Chemin and Sam, was found to contain smectite – a particular group of clay minerals.
The lack of salt and high abundance of certain minerals suggests that fresh-water environment was once present in the Red Planet.
Meanwhile, operations in Mars are expected to slow down this April due to solar conjunction.
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