Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mars Soil Suitable for Asparagus - Can Humans Be Far Behind?

"It is the type of soil you would probably have in your back yard, you know, alkaline. You might be able to grow asparagus in it really well" - this from Sam Kounaves, lead scientist investigating the soil on Mars, via the Phoenix that landed there on May 25, after a 10-month journey from Earth.

Kounaves added that he was "flabbergasted" about the finding.

It's thrilling news indeed, even if you don't care for asparagus. Because even if there was no life on Mars in the past - and this finding certainly makes it more likely that there was - a soil hospitable to life is a big step towards the terraforming of Mars, or making it hospitable for current human life.

The Martian atmosphere is still too thin, the water picture not yet clear (ice may have been found, just beneath the surface), but the soil beneath our feet on Mars is an excellent foundation indeed for extending our world on Earth to our neighbor to the "north" in the solar system.

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