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Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt.
dDepartment of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle.
Space Science Institute, 4750 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO.
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2009 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, ISSN 2169-9097, E-ISSN 2169-9100, Vol. 114, no 10, E00E03Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objective of the Phoenix mission is to determine if Mars' polar region can support life. Since liquid water is a basic ingredient for life, as we know it, an important goal of the mission is to determine if liquid water exists at the landing site. It is believed that a layer of Martian soil preserves ice by forming a barrier against high temperatures and sublimation, but that exposed ice sublimates without the formation of the liquid phase. Here we show possible independent physical and thermodynamical evidence that besides ice, liquid saline water exists in areas disturbed by the Phoenix Lander. Moreover, we show that the thermodynamics of freeze-thaw cycles can lead to the formation of saline solutions with freezing temperatures lower than current summer ground temperatures on the Phoenix landing site on Mars' Arctic. Thus, we hypothesize that liquid saline water might occur where ground ice exists near the Martian surface. The ideas and results presented in this article provide significant new insights into the behavior of water on Mars.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 114, no 10, E00E03
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Atmospheric science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-64752DOI: 10.1029/2009JE003362OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-64752DiVA: diva2:1119226
Available from: 2017-07-03 Created: 2017-07-03 Last updated: 2017-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Zorzano, María Paz
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