Tags: water | mars | night | nasa

Water on Mars Only Appears at Night, NASA Scientists Guess

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 10:33 AM

Water in the form of liquid brine could possibly be found in Martian soil at night, according to readings from the NASA's Curiosity rover.

Scientists with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who have been pouring over Curiosity's data said in an agency news release on Monday that Martian weather and soil conditions, along with the salt found on the planet's soil, all hint at the existence of transient liquid brines at higher latitudes.

"Liquid water is a requirement for life as we know it, and a target for Mars exploration missions," said Javier Martin-Torres of the Spanish Research Council and a member of Curiosity's science team.

"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," said Martin-Torres, the report's lead author.

The latest Mars weather data, which was published this week in the journal Nature Geosciences, was based on calculations over a full Mars year of temperature and humidity testing by Curiosity, reported NASA.

"We have not detected brines, but calculating the possibility that they might exist in Gale Crater during some nights testifies to the value of the round-the-clock and year-round measurements REMS is providing," said Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada.

Martin-Torres told BBC News that even though the rover has not found liquid brines the indirect evidence is "convincing" of its existence.

"What we see are the conditions for the formation of brines on the surface," said Morris-Torres. "It's similar to when people were discovering the first exoplanets. They were not seeing the planets, but they were able to see the gravitational effects on the star. These perchlorate salts have a property called deliquescence. They take the water vapor from the atmosphere and absorb it to produce the brines."

Evidence of liquid brine found at Mars' equator, where conditions would be less favorable for its existence, gives scientists a reason for optimism to find it at the higher latitudes, noted BBC News

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Water in the form of liquid brine could possibly be found in Martian soil at night, according to readings from the NASA's Curiosity rover.
water, mars, night, nasa
361
2015-33-14
Tuesday, 14 Apr 2015 10:33 AM
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