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Liquid water at crater Gale, Mars
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
Centro de Astrobiologia, INTA-CSIC, Madrid.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Astrobiology and Outreach, ISSN 2332-2519, Vol. 3, no 3, 131Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Suspicion that Mars could have transient liquid water on its surface through deliquescence of salts to form aqueous solutions or brines is an old proposal whose inquiry was boosted by Phoenix Lander observations. It provided some images of what were claimed to be brines, the presence of which at its landing site was compatible with the atmospheric parameters and the composition of the soil observed. On the other hand, the so called Recurrent Slope Lineae (RSL) often imaged by orbiters, were considered as another clue pointing to the occurrence of the phenomenon, since it was thought that they might be caused by it. Now, Curiosity rover has performed the first in-situ multi-instrumental study on Mars’ surface, having collected the most comprehensive environmental data set ever taken by means of their instruments Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN), and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM). REMS is providing continuous and accurate measurements of the relative humidity and surface and air temperatures among other parameters, and DAN and SAM provide the water content of the regolith and the atmosphere respectively. Analysis of these data has allowed to establish the existence of a present day active water cycle between the atmosphere and the regolith, that changes according to daily and seasonal cycles, and that is mediated by the presence of brines during certain periods of each and every day. Importantly, the study shows that the conditions for the occurrence of deliquescence are favourable even at equatorial latitudes where, at first, it was thought they were not due to the temperature and relative humidity conditions. This study provides new keys for the understanding of martian environment, and opens interesting lines of research and studies for future missions which may even have a bearing on extant microbial life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 3, no 3, 131
Research subject
Atmospheric science
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-16067DOI: 10.4172/2332-2519.1000131Local ID: fa5e88a1-e85e-426d-8db8-b584aac7d2beOAI: diva2:989043
Godkänd; 2015; 20150702 (javmar)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Castro, Juan Francisco BuenestadoMier, Maria-Paz ZorzanoMartin-Torres, Javier
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