NASA Confirms Water On Mars

This image provided by NASA shows the full-circle panoramic view of the Phoenix Mars Lander taken during the first several weeks after NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander arrived on an arctic plain on Mars in late May. The Phoenix spacecraft "tasted" Martian water for the first time, Wednesday July 30, 2008. The robot heated up soil in one of its instruments earlier this week. University of Arizona scientists say the chemical test confirms the presence of ice near the Martian north pole. (AP Photo/NASA) AP Photo/NASA

NASA announced Thursday that laboratory tests aboard the Phoenix Mars Lander have proven that water exists on Mars. No organic compounds have been identified, but the space agency hasn't given up hope.

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

In addition, NASA has decided to extend the mission of the Phoenix until September 30. It had originally been scheduled to wrap up operations on the Red Planet in August. For more from the findings of Phoenix, read Stefanie Olsen's blog.

This image shows how NASA has plotted out the Martian surface which is being tested by the Phoenix.

Click here to check out CNET's photo gallery of the Red Planet dig.

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