This week's astronomy discoveries: liquid moon and an icy planet

Thursday, July 31st 2008, 4:52 pm
By: News 9

By News9 Meteorologist Carrie Rose.

There were a couple of discoveries made this week in astronomy, so here's the news from out of this world.

Earlier this week, the Phoenix lander on Mars scooped a sample of Martian soil near that planet's north pole.  That sample was heated in an oven to melt any ice in the soil and then "taste" it to confirm it is indeed water.  Sure enough, Phoenix held and tasted water on Mars!  This confirms for the first time that there is water in the form of ice on Mars.  For more information on the Phoneix mission, click here.

NASA scientists have also found another body in our solar system that has liquid on its surface like Earth.  No, it's not water, and it's not even on another planet!  Saturn's moon Titan has lakes and seas made of liquid hydrocarbons like ethane.  While Earth's hydrologic cycle is based on water, Titan's cycle is based on methane.  Now Earth cannot stand alone as the only liquid surface body in our neighborhood.  To find out more about this research, click here

Don't forget about the total solar eclipse Friday morning, August 1!  News9 This Morning will have live coverage of the event as it happens in China.