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Martian Water

July 24, 2012

An analysis of meteorites suggests that the Martian interior contains much more water than previously suspected.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Hidden water on Mars. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Bits of Mars that fell to earth as meteorites contain unexpectedly large amounts of water, sealed up in minerals inside. This according to a report in the journal Geology.  Eric Hauri, at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, says the minerals formed when magma erupted from Martian volcanoes. Then they were hurled into space by a meteor impact, and eventually reached Earth. Even after all that, Hauri says water remains locked inside.

ERIC HAURI (Carnegie Insitution of Washington):

And so we can back calculate the water content of the mantle source, deep in the interior of Mars. And when we do that, again, we find that water content for the Martian mantle is very similar to the water content of earth mantle.

HIRSHON:

That’s about thirty times more water than was thought to be in the Martian interior. The finding could mean that other planets hold more water than expected as well. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

The Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover is scheduled to land on August 5, 2012. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)