A recently published study suggests that the Mars water reservoir may be even more impressive than it was previously thought. Besides, the existence of a hydrologic environment strengthens the belief that Martian life is hiding somewhere on the Red Planet, waiting to be discovered.
The research suggests that liquid freshwater cannot resist for a considerable amount of time on the surface of the planet. However, super-salty water, commonly known as brines, presents lower freezing points, being likely to resist more, regardless of the changing atmospheric conditions, from freezing cold temperatures to boiling hot degrees.
The presence of brines was spotted for the first time with the help of dark streaks, which were captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The recent study combines information gathered from the Mars-studying spacecraft and additional data collected with the help of atmospheric models that could define the brine model.
This model has managed to identify that almost 40% of the Martian surface supports liquid brines. In addition to this, the Mars Express spacecraft has managed to demonstrate that the deep surface of the planet might be extremely rich in water.
However, the researchers are suggesting that the brines are not exactly the most habitable environment, given that their maximum temperature is usually positioned around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, the metastable brines and the subsurface brines do not present the tolerance criteria for supporting terrestrial life.
Fortunately, there is still a glimmer of hope. The discovery builds the path towards a new series of discoveries as far as the existing microbial life on Mars is concerned, without the risk of contaminating the environment with manmade microbes. Moreover, the results provide resourceful data, which contributes to the development of potential habitable factors on the Red Planet. Therefore, we will soon hear about the extinct wonders that once used to be part of our thrilling Mars.
The paper has been published on Space.com.