It was known for over a year that Mars boast water in the form of ice on its surface, however, it may have liquid water too, essential for the existence of lifeforms. According to NASA scientists data sent by curiosity rover suggests presence of liquid water very close to Martian surface; however it is not yet confirmed. It could easily be the biggest finding of the century if confirmed.
While explaining, researchers said that curiosity rover has indicated the presence of the substance calcium perchlorate in the soil of Martian surface, responsible for lowering the freezing point of water so that water does not freeze into ice and remains in liquid state. These salts under appropriate conditions can absorb water from the atmosphere and form a brine (a salt and water solution) so that frost made due to surface water at night can be converted into liquid again.
“Our measurements from the Curiosity rover’s weather monitoring station show that these conditions exist at night and just after sunrise in the winter. Based on measurements of humidity and the temperature at a height of 1.6 meters and at the surface of the planet, we can estimate the amount of water that is absorb,” said Morten Bo Madsen, associate professor and head of the Mars Group at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
Since, soil on the red planet is porous, water may have crawled down the surface and with the addition of salts like perchlorate over the time, brine might have been formed. Recently, curiosity clicked a photograph suggesting a riverbed where water must have flown up to a depth one meter several years ago. Now the finding of perchlorate salt has given new insight in search of life. The sharp images taken by the probe near the Mount Sharp shows large deposits similar to when a large amount of water flows in the form of a stream.
Curiosity rover that was launched by NASA from Cape Canaveral on 26 November 2011. The prime goal of the mission was to search presence of life by tracing presence of water. Since its launch, the spacecraft has sent some marvelous shots that suggest presence of ice and now liquid water as well. However, more research is required to confirm the finding but if traces of liquid water is confirmed it will be the biggest breakthrough of the century.
The research appeared in the journal Nature.