Mars may have more water than previously thought


40% of the Martian surface can support seasonal liquid brines, but they are formed at very low temperatures.

A recent study shows that there may be more liquid on the surface of Mars than previous analyzes have shown, the researchers explain that environmental conditions cause liquid water to freeze or evaporate into the atmosphere. However, brine, water with a high salt content that has a higher freezing point, could survive longer on the planet’s surface, he notes. Space.

Scientists claim that the images provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provide clues to the formation of these mixtures of water and salts, which may be visible as darker spots. Using a variety of information, the researchers built a model that indicates that these mixtures may be present on the planet’s surface.

The model indicates that about 40% of the Martian surface could sustain these mixtures for a period of up to six hours. Regarding the phenomena that can occur at a short distance from the planet’s surface, the model indicates that these mixtures could exist for almost 10% of the Martian year, about 68.7 days, at a depth of only eight centimeters. Unfortunately, these mixtures of water and salts are unlikely to be sources of life because they can reach temperatures as low as -48 degrees Celsius.

“Our results indicate that (meta) stable brines on the Martian surface and its surface, a few centimeters deep, are not habitable, because their activities and temperatures in water do not fall within known tolerances for terrestrial life,” the researchers explain.

“These new results reduce some of the risk of exploring the red planet, while also contributing to future studies of the potential of living conditions on Mars,” concludes Alejandro Soto, co-author of the study and a researcher at Boulder University in the United States.

The study was published in Nature Astronomy.

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