According to a new research, the Red Planet might actually have a few puddles of salty water at night, although during the day, the planet is as dry as a bone.
There is a theory that states a certain kind of salt existing on the planet’s surface could absorb water vapors from the thin atmosphere surrounding Mars. This phenomenon supposedly happens only at night and it’s what prevents the soil from freezing. So even though the extremely low temperatures at night the salt bringing water vapors into the soil prevents it from freezing.
There are no official results saying that there are indeed puddles during the night but scientists say that their new study supports the theory. The research was conducted over a period of one year during which the Mars Curiosity rover in Gale Crater analyzed the temperature and humidity of that area.
According to the report’s co-author Alfred McEwen from the University of Arizona, Gale Crater is the area with the worst conditions for brines to form compared to other places on Mars situated at higher altitudes or with a better shading level. So, if they found traces of water in the most inhospitable area, “that strengthens the case they could form and persist even longer at many other locations”.
The scientific world considers Mars could have actually had a sea as large as the Earth’s Atlantic Ocean and Curiosity found clues pointing out to the existence of ancient streambeds and a lake on the Red Planet.
Over time, Mars lost most of its water to space which led to the planet’s well known dry and inhospitable environment. And the study isn’t trying to prove otherwise. The team explained that the temperature and water levels they measured are too low “to support terrestrial organisms”.
But it supports the idea that at least in the past, life might have existed. The evidence of water ice detected at Mars’ poles and now more data pointing toward the existence of brines increases the hope of finding evidence of life having once existed on Mars. As lead author Javier Martin-Torres explained:
“Conditions near the surface of present-day Mars are hardly favorable for microbial life as we know it but the possibility for liquid brines on Mars has wider implications for habitability and geological water-related processes.”
Image Source: NASA