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Mars rover finds more evidence for water

The Spirit rover had to dig a little deeper to find out more about this martian rock, dubbed "Wishstone", more than a year after landing on Mars. Spirit used its rock abrasion tool, or "RAT," first to scour a patch of the rock's surface with a wire brush, then to grind away the surface to reveal interior material. Examination of the exposed circle revealed that the rock is rich in phosphorus. Spirit used its panoramic camera to take the three individual images that were combined to produce this false-color view emphasizing the freshly ground dust around the hole cut by the RAT. (UPI Photo/NASA/JPL/Cornell)
The Spirit rover had to dig a little deeper to find out more about this martian rock, dubbed "Wishstone", more than a year after landing on Mars. Spirit used its rock abrasion tool, or "RAT," first to scour a patch of the rock's surface with a wire brush, then to grind away the surface to reveal interior material. Examination of the exposed circle revealed that the rock is rich in phosphorus. Spirit used its panoramic camera to take the three individual images that were combined to produce this false-color view emphasizing the freshly ground dust around the hole cut by the RAT. (UPI Photo/NASA/JPL/Cornell) | License Photo

PASADENA, Calif., Oct. 28 (UPI) -- NASA's Mars rover Spirit is stuck in one spot, but it's still making discoveries, including signs of water in the soil it's stuck in, U.S. researchers say.

The ground where Spirit has been pinned since last year holds evidence that water, perhaps as snowmelt, trickled into the subsurface fairly recently and on a continuing basis, a NASA release said Thursday.

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Spirit and its twin rover Opportunity finished their three-month prime missions in April 2004 but have kept on exploring in bonus missions.

One of Spirit's six wheels quit working in 2006.

In April 2009 Spirit's left wheels broke through a crust at a site called "Troy" and churned into soft sand, immobilizing the rover.

Researchers took advantage of the opportunity to examine in great detail the soil layers the wheels had exposed.

Spirit's findings of possible water contribute to a growing set of clues that Mars may still have small amounts of liquid water at some periods during its climate cycles.

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