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Water Ice Found on Mars

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Dr. Randii Wessen, a program system engineer at NASA, holds a globe of mars where at the top in the northern hemisphere, a yellow square marks the landing area of the Phoenix Lander where ice water was found. | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

This just in from the Mars Phoenix Lander's Twitter at 5:15 p.m.: "Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!" It was just two days ago that media outlets were reporting that there were no signs of water yet.

Then nine minutes after that: "Whoohoo! Was keeping my eye on some chunks of bright stuff & they disappeared! Sublimated! So it can't be salt, it's ice."

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"It must be ice," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that." The chunks were left at the bottom of a trench informally called "Dodo-Goldilocks" when Phoenix's Robotic Arm enlarged that trench on June 15, during the 20th Martian day, or sol, since landing. Several were gone when Phoenix looked at the trench early today, on Sol 24. [University of Arizona Mars Phoenix Mission]

Not only do we have ice on Mars, NASA has whole-heartedly used the 2007 Word of the Year -- w00t.

-- Photo Essay: JPL Makes it to Mars
-- From Mars to Pasadena: Images of the Red Planet

For the Record: The original title of this post was 'Ice Water Found on Mars,' but was changed to 'Water Ice Found on Mars' | Photo of Mars from JPL/Univ. of Arizona