Mars might have transient liquid water

Scientists have found indirect evidence to support the presence of transient liquid water brine (very salty water) on Mars.

Details:

  • The brine is likely to be present in the uppermost 5 cm of the Mars soil from sunset to sunrise during winter and for shorter windows of time during other seasons.
  • At night, some of the water vapour in the atmosphere condenses as frost.
  • Calcium perchlorate salt :

    which is globally present on Mars, absorbs the frost and forms brine by reducing the freezing temperature of water.

  • The inference of transient liquid water on the red planet was based on the
    • analysis of relative humidity,
    • air temperature,
    • ground temperature data
  • Collected by Curiosity from the Gale Crater over one full Martian year.
  • Scientists have also said that the transient nature of water is not conducive for the replication and metabolism of terrestrial micro-organisms.
  • Since the data collected by Curiosity is from the equator, the driest and warmest region of the red planet, the possibility of abundant brines in other regions of the planet is high due to greater atmospheric water content in the form of humidity and lower temperature.
  • The presence of brine also affects the solubility of other salts in the uppermost 15 cm of soil.
  • Martian Year :
  • Metabolism (“change”) is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments.

Sources: The Hindu. wiki

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