Martian antifreeze makes liquid water possible


EXCERPT: In the study, published in Nature, the scientists analysed the relative humidity, air temperature and ground temperature data from the Curiosity rover located at Gale crater on Mars. They found that liquid water in very salty state – known as liquid brines – forms at night-time in the uppermost 5 cm of the subsurface and then evaporates after sunrise.

Madsen said: “When night falls, some of the water vapour in the atmosphere condenses on the planet surface as frost, but calcium perchlorate is very absorbent and it forms a brine with the water, so the freezing point is lowered and the frost can turn into a liquid. The soil is porous, so what we are seeing is that the water seeps down through the soil. Over time, other salts may also dissolve in the soil and now that they are liquid, they can move and precipitate elsewhere under the surface”. . . .

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