Mars soil Asparagus friendly?

OK, so the headline has been used before. But attending a conference, Pamela Gay - a.k.a. Star Stryder - adds to what scientists can say with some certainty about the science done by the now-expired Mars Phoenix Lander and the potential for future habitability.

The session started with a broad overview of the results everyone was waiting to hear: Is there evidence of past liquid water and is their the possibility Mars can (at other temperatures) support life. The answer is a qualified yes.

Having confirmed water ice and a soil Ph of 7.7, the planet might actually grow something if it weren't so numbingly cold. She also reports that with luck, the lander, which exceeded its life expectancy by months but ultimately succumbed to the polar winter - could phone home should it thaw enough in the Martian spring.