It's official: there is water on Mars! Phoenix's TEGA oven has separated water from Martian soil, and detected it using its specialized sensors. When Phoenix dug the sample from the Martian soil, it hit a layer of frozen soil about 2 inches into the ground. The soil then froze into the scoop several times, complicating attempts to get the sample into the TEGA oven. This is excellent news, the news scientists have been waiting on for decades. This discovery proves once and for all that at one time there was water on Mars, and still is (although it is frozen).
The Phoenix mission has been extended until September 30, 2008, in hopes of more discoveries like this. Future Phoenix experiments will determine if the water ever melts, perhaps during a Martian summer. Phoenix is currently doing very well, and if NASA is lucky, will live as long as Spirit and Opportunity.
360* Panoramic image courtesy of: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University Arizona/Texas A&M University.