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  • 1.
    Martin-Torres, Javier
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
    Zorzano, María-Paz
    Centro de Astrobiologia, INTA-CSIC, Madrid , Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial, Madrid, Centro de Astrobiologia, Madrid.
    Valentin-Serrano, Patricia
    CSIC-UGR - Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (IACT), Granada.
    Harri, Ari-Matti
    Earth Observation Research Division, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki.
    Genzer, Maria
    Finnish Meteorological Institute, Earth Observation Research Division, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki.
    Kemppainen, Osku
    Finnish Meteorological Institute, Earth Observation Research Division, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki.
    Rivera-Valentin, Edgard G.
    Arecibo Observatory, Universities Space Research Association, Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
    Jun, Insoo
    California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
    Wray, James J.
    School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.
    Madsen, Morten B.
    Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
    Goetz, Walter
    Max-Planck-Institut für Solar System Research.
    McEwen, Alfred S,
    Lunar and Planetary Lab, University of Arizona, Tucson.
    Hardgrove, Craig
    Arizona State University, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Malin Space Science Systems.
    Renno, Nilton
    University of Michigan, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
    Chevrier, Vincent F.
    Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
    Mischna, Michael A.
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
    Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael
    Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Ciudad Universitaria, Centro de Astrobiologia, INTA-CSIC, Madrid , Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico D.F., Laboratorio de Química de Plasmas y Estudios Planetarios, Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
    Martínez-Frías, Jesús
    Centro de Astrobiologia, INTA-CSIC, Madrid , Instituto de Geociencias (CSIC-UCM), 28040 Madrid.
    Conrad, Pamela G.
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Solar System Exploration Division, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Greenbelt, Maryland.
    McConnochie, Timothy H.
    Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park.
    Cockell, Charles
    ESO, UK Centre for Astrobiology, School of Physics and Astronomy,.
    Berger, Gilles
    IRAP/CNRS, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie, Toulouse, Université de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP.
    Vasavada, Ashwin
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
    Sumner, Dawn Y.
    Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis, Department of Geology, University of California, Davis.
    Vaniman, David T.
    Planetary Science Institute, Tucson.
    Transient liquid water and water activity at Gale crater on Mars2015In: Nature Geoscience, ISSN 1752-0894, E-ISSN 1752-0908, Vol. 8, no 5, p. 357-361Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Water is a requirement for life as we know it1. Indirect evidence of transient liquid water has been observed from orbiter on equatorial Mars2, in contrast with expectations from large-scale climate models. The presence of perchlorate salts, which have been detected at Gale crater on equatorial Mars by the Curiosity rover3, 4, lowers the freezing temperature of water5. Moreover, perchlorates can form stable hydrated compounds and liquid solutions by absorbing atmospheric water vapour through deliquescence6, 7. Here we analyse relative humidity, air temperature and ground temperature data from the Curiosity rover at Gale crater and find that the observations support the formation of night-time transient liquid brines in the uppermost 5 cm of the subsurface that then evaporate after sunrise. We also find that changes in the hydration state of salts within the uppermost 15 cm of the subsurface, as measured by Curiosity, are consistent with an active exchange of water at the atmosphere–soil interface. However, the water activity and temperature are probably too low to support terrestrial organisms8. Perchlorates are widespread on the surface of Mars9 and we expect that liquid brines are abundant beyond equatorial regions where atmospheric humidity is higher and temperatures are lower.

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