UT professor helps uncover large amounts of water on Mars

UT professor helps uncover large amounts of water on Mars

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A new study released this week in Science Magazine reveals NASA's Curiosity Rover has helped find evidence of water in the soil. A new study released this week in Science Magazine reveals NASA's Curiosity Rover has helped find evidence of water in the soil.
"This is interesting because early in Mars history, when there was a lot more volcanic activity ,this water would have been coming out of the molten and adding water to the atmosphere," said Dr. Linda Kah. "This is interesting because early in Mars history, when there was a lot more volcanic activity ,this water would have been coming out of the molten and adding water to the atmosphere," said Dr. Linda Kah.
"This is gushing water, lots and lots of water, flowing on the surface," explained UT professor Dr. Hap McSween. "This is gushing water, lots and lots of water, flowing on the surface," explained UT professor Dr. Hap McSween.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Scientists say they have found even more evidence that a large amount of water once existed on Mars.

A new study released this week reveals NASA's Curiosity Rover has helped find evidence of water in the soil.     

One of the scientists who took part in the study is Dr. Linda Kah, associate professor of geology at the University of Tennessee.   

Ever since the rover landed on Mars in 2012, Dr. Kah says scientists have been waiting for evidence that large amounts of water used to be on Mars. They released what they found Thursday in Science Magazine.

The scientists outlined the evidence they found in five different papers. The first is what they found in a lava rock from the planet's surface.

"The composition of the particular chemical composition of the lava supports that inside of Mars, the molten magna inside of Mars, had quite a lot of water in it," said Dr Kah. "This is interesting because early in Mars history, when there was a lot more volcanic activity ,this water would have been coming out of the molten and adding water to the atmosphere."

Dr. Kah helped design the programs for the Curiosity Rover and co-authored one of the studies released.     

She says there is even more evidence of water from a sample of sand the rover collected.

"We heated it up and watched what gases came off, and what we found is a lot of water came off, which means that during colder periods on mars, the atmosphere is condensing and some of the water is binding to the soil," she said.

"Many people say we have already heard the water story on Mars before and it's true, but this one is a little different," explained UT professor Dr. Hap McSween. "This is gushing water, lots and lots of water, flowing on the surface."

Dr. McSween says this new evidence is important for us on Earth.

"There are technology benefits," he said. "There are scientific benefits, but there's also educational benefits."    

Both professors say maybe one day scientist can answer the ultimate question of if there was once life on Mars.    

The United States has only landed and collected samples on the surface on Mars six times. Officials are hoping the rover will continue to function for another year.

The rover is currently traveling to an area on Mars called Mount Sharp to collect even more samples.

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