Curiosity's on-board lab heated a small amount of dirt from the surface and found that the most abundant vapor was H2O.
This could be a vital tool for future astronauts taking leisurely strolls about the surface of Mars.
One cubic foot of dirt can be headed to a few hundred degrees, and it will yield around two pints of chemically refined, alien water. I would wager it tastes a bit like cherry Koolade.
"And this dirt on Mars is interesting because it seems to be about the same everywhere you go. If you are a human explorer, this is really good news because you can quite easily extract water from almost anywhere." said Laurie Leshin, Curiosity researcher.
The sample was taken 400m from its original landing spot of over a year ago. The area, dubbed “rocknest”, is named for its wind-blown sand and silt properties.
The rover used one of its many, many tools to pick up, filter and insert a small amount of soil into its lab station called SAM.
SAM has the ability to heat up samples and identify the gasses that are released in the process. This is done to further understand what the Martian soil is made up of.
In English, you ask? The rover heated up some dirt. It detected a humungous amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide). CO2 is created only in the presence of water.
Oxygen and chlorine were also detected. Since the Mars Phoenix rover landing in 2008, scientists have been expecting to find these elements. Now, with them crossed off the list, the rovers can start new missions.
"[We think these] are break-down products from a mineral called perchlorate, and that's there at about a half-a-percent in the soil," said Dr Leshin.
"If the water was the good news for the astronauts, this is the bad news. Perchlorate actually interferes with thyroid function, so it could be a problem if humans were to ingest some of the fine dust on Mars. It's just something we need to know about now so we can plan for it later."
Fortunately, Americans are used to thyroid problems, so we will be the obvious candidate for the first manned-mission to the dusty red planet.
More information released suggested that there was another cool find within the soil.
A pyramid shaped rock, about the size of your head, was found blocking the path of Curiosity. This prominent stone was named Jake Matijevik in memory of a recently deceased engineer who worked for NASA.
Further inspection by scientists proposes that the rock has never been seen on the surface of mars.
In an even further inspection, the same scientists believe the rock is most likely mugearite; a stone found on islands and rift zone areas on earth.
This specific mineral is brought to the surface by being blasted from volcanoes, but only forms in the presence of *drum role* H2O.
Humans are getting closer to unlocking the secrets that are hidden beneath the red planet's surface. Conquering it may be our generations legacy. In the last true frontier, space is slowly revealing more and more of itself to our species ever year. It's only a matter of time before we have hyper-drives and laser weapons.