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The search for water on Mars
The search for water on Mars

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Water’s key properties

You have now learned about a number of properties of water that make it important, both for the environment and for life.

  • A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms.
  • Water is a polar molecule.
  • Water molecules are attracted to one another by hydrogen bonds.
  • Water has a high specific heat capacity, so it can balance temperature differences.
  • Water is an efficient coolant when evaporating.
  • Water is the universal solvent for life.
  • Water is a transport medium for ions, nutrients and waste.
  • Water takes part in reactions, some of which can change the acidity of a solution.

As such an important molecule for life and the environment, finding water beyond Earth would have huge significance. In the next section you will learn how to find it.