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H2O at the Phoenix Landing Site

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Science  03 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5936, pp. 58-61
DOI: 10.1126/science.1172339

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Abstract

The Phoenix mission investigated patterned ground and weather in the northern arctic region of Mars for 5 months starting 25 May 2008 (solar longitude between 76.5° and 148°). A shallow ice table was uncovered by the robotic arm in the center and edge of a nearby polygon at depths of 5 to 18 centimeters. In late summer, snowfall and frost blanketed the surface at night; H2O ice and vapor constantly interacted with the soil. The soil was alkaline (pH = 7.7) and contained CaCO3, aqueous minerals, and salts up to several weight percent in the indurated surface soil. Their formation likely required the presence of water.

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