US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — With an extremely rarefied atmosphere and extremely low temperatures on the surface of Mars, water cannot remain a liquid. However, highly concentrated solutions of salts (brines) are quite capable of maintaining a liquid form – if not constantly, then at least during some warm periods.
Mars rovers detect possible traces of such semi-stable “reservoirs”, possibly existing shallow below the surface of the Red Planet.
Local soil is very rich in perchlorates, perchloric acid salts, which can dissolve in water at extremely high concentrations, significantly lowering its freezing temperature. The behavior of such “pickles” was investigated by the Edgard Rivera-Valentín team from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Texas, simulating in the laboratory conditions existing on the surface of Mars.
In an article published in the journal Nature Astronomy , scientists report that some solutions are able to remain liquid both at the surface and a few centimeters below it.
A suitable temperature for this can be maintained for six or more warm hours every local year, in a rather vast space from the equator to high latitudes, covering about 40 percent of the planet’s surface.
Unfortunately, the chances of life in such “pickles” are extremely weak. Not only are they oversaturated with perchlorates, toxic to known organisms, their temperature also remains extremely low and, despite its temporary liquid form, does not rise above minus 48 ° С. This is half the lowest cold threshold at which terrestrial extremophile microbes can exist.
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