RT, April 14
New measurements of Martian weather and soil conditions suggest the soil is damp with liquid brine, which can remain liquid when temperatures drop below freezing. The finding contradicts theories that it’s too arid and cold for water on the Red Planet.
The measurements, based on a full year’s study of the planet’s temperature and humidity by NASA’s Curiosity rover, indicate that conditions at the Gale Crater are “favorable for small quantities of brine to form.” The brine is created when the salt perchlorate absorbs water vapor from the atmosphere and then lowers the freezing point of water. When mixed with calcium perchlorate, liquid water can exist down to around -70 Celsius.
“Liquid water is a requirement for life as we know it, and a target for Mars exploration missions,” said the report’s author, Javier Martin-Torres of the Spanish Research Council, in a statement. “Conditions near the surface of present-day Mars are hardly favorable for microbial life as we know it, but the possibility for liquid brines on Mars has wider implications for habitability and geological water-related processes.”
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