Hard in the disappointment of not finding methane on Mars, a sign of possible life, Mars Curiosity has instead found water, according to a September 26, 2013 story in the UK Guardian. The news has implications for future explorers and eventual colonization.
Curiosity’s instruments have determined that, at least in the area of the Gale Crater it has explored, that every cubic foot of Martian soil contains two pints of water, consisting of molecules bound up with other material. However it would be a simple matter for future explorers and colonists to heat the soil to release the water for later use. Sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and oxygen would also be released.
Thus far the only indications of water on Mars have been as ice at the Red Planet’s poles. However Curiosity and other Mars probes have found indications the surface water had flowed on Mars in the ancient past, billions of years ago, when the planet had a thicker atmosphere and perhaps life.
Curiosity found the water by taking small samples of soil and heating it up in a small oven that is part of the Sample Analysis at Mars.