Nasa confirms Mars ice is made of water

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Extends Phoenix mission time.

Nasa has confirmed that it has definitely found water on Mars.

The organisation was fairly certain that the it was seeing were made of water but the probe has now managed to heat up a sample and the substance is definitely water.

"We have water," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA.

"We've seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted."

The sample was taken from a trench dug two inches into the Martian surface. The knowledge that water is available on the planet would make a manned mission to the planet much more feasible.

Nasa has also announced it is extending the mission time for the Phoenix probe for five weeks until the end of September.

"Phoenix is healthy and the projections for solar power look good, so we want to take full advantage of having this resource in one of the most interesting locations on Mars," said Michael Meyer, chief scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at Nasa Headquarters in Washington.

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