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Kounaves said in a conference call with the media that, though the findings are preliminary, they've found the minerals that are essential to life in the Martian soil. The dirt there is very alkaline, with a pH level of between eight and nine. They've also found magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride. They're still waiting on analysis regarding evidence of sulfate in the soil.
The minerals in the Martian soil, according to Kounaves, are typical of soils here on Earth. "Some kinds of Earth life would be happy to live in these soils," he added. "Asparagus, green beans and turnips love alkaline soils."