Mars seems to have liquid water locked underneath its surface. So far, researchers were skeptical about the existence of water on Mars, as the conditions on this planet were thought to be to cold and dry for it to allow the existence of liquid water.Scientists knew that on the red planet there was ice,but not liquid water.
To their surprise, the new discovery made by the Curiosity Rover proved them the opposite. This was the first time scientists have found evidence that liquid water exists on Mars, explained the chief of planetary science from the Mullard Space, professor Andrew Coates.
The new discoveries have shown that the soil on Mars is moist, because the soil contains salt which highly changes the freezing point of water.
The salt also, has the property of absorbing the water vapor from the atmosphere. If water contains calcium perchlorate, it can resist in it liquid state even at -70C.Even if liquid water is present on Mars, the extremely low temperature of it cannot support any type of life known by humans. Another life unfriendly matter, is the fact that this water has formed at a depth of 15 cm from the soil, meaning that it will be highly threatened by cosmic radiation, which affects life. Even so, life on Mars can still exist, in areas where conditions are more friendly.
The Martian soil is porous and the water found travels down trough the soil.In time the salts can also spread trough the soil and the fact that they are liquid, it allows them to form in different places beneath the surface, explained Mars expert from the University of Copenhagen, Morten Bo Madsen.
To make this discovery,the Curiosity Rover, has used its Rover Environmental Monitoring System, which basically is the program trough which it analyses weather, to measure the temperature and humidity at the Gale Crater.
With the help of another instrument, named the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons scientists obtained an estimate amount of water laying beneath the surface.
The last device used, the Sample Analysis at Mars, allowed researchers to quantify the water vapors contained by the atmosphere.
The results proved that there were optimal conditions for the formation of brines for the duration of winter nights in the area of Mars’s equator, the place where the Curiosity Rover made the analysis. However, at day time when the temperatures were slightly higher, and the liquid evaporated.
The brines, being found at Mars’s equator, the place with the least friendly conditions on the planet,lead scientists to believe that they could be found more often in regions where the temperatures are lower and the humidity level is greater. Chances are, that in this regions, they might be persisting for the entire year.
Image Source: Hidden Universe