Water world: New data pinpoint Mars' wet and balmy past

Water bathed the surface of southern Mars for millions of years, helping to create an environment theoretically capable of nurturing life, according to a new study into the planet's mysterious oceans.

Scientists at Brown University in Rhode Island used an instrument aboard a US spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to hunt for traces of phyllosilicates, or clay-like minerals that preserve a record of water's interaction with rocks.