THE WORLD THIS WEEK: First taste of water on Mars

Hopes of proving life on Mars have been given a boost by the first discovery of water on the planet. The Phoenix Mars Lander, which has been exploring the planet’s surface since June, has found water-ice in the soil. Scientists are testing the ice to see if conditions on the Red Planet ever have, or still do, support life there. Evidence of water-ice has been found before, but researcher William Boynton said, “This is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted.”

Scientists are melting the ice to see what it’s made up of, but said results of their tests would take weeks to analyse.