Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Water could flow on Mars, model suggests; Scientists look at melting and evaporation of frozen brines

Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Summary:
Researchers have created a model that might explain how water could produce the flow patterns seen by a spacecraft orbiting Mars.

Mars. Researchers have created a model that might explain how water could produce the flow patterns seen by a spacecraft orbiting Mars.
Credit: NASA

University of Arkansas researchers have created a model that might explain how water could produce the flow patterns seen by a spacecraft orbiting Mars.

Research professor Vincent Chevrier and former Doctoral Academy Fellow Edgard Rivera-Valentin, now a postdoctoral associate at Brown University, published their findings in a recent edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The University of Arkansas researchers studied small flow features originally identified by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and detailed in a July 2011 paper published in Science magazine. These flow features, which appear and disappear with the seasons and show a strong preference for equator facing slopes, indicate the possible presence of liquid on the Red Planet. Chevrier and Rivera-Valentin have constructed the most comprehensive model to date of the behavior of water-and-salt combinations called brines to show that frozen water could melt, flow and then evaporate, creating these flow features on Mars.

Salts can lower the melting point of water, so the researchers used different forms of salt known to form on Mars to calculate what would melt, how much would become liquid and how long the liquid would last from the time it went from freezing to evaporation. They based their model on soils up to 20 centimeters deep, because beyond that depth the seasonal temperatures would not affect the freezing and melting aspects of the salt-water mixtures.

"We had to find a salt-water mixture that would come and go," in other words, something not completely liquid or solid, said Chevrier, a research assistant professor in the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. They found that calcium chloride fits the bill.

"In one day we could form enough liquid to create these flow features on the surface," he said. The researcher's model also explained why the flow features disappeared by incorporating evaporation into the model.

"The easier it becomes to melt, the easier it becomes to evaporate," Chevrier said. At low concentrations of brine, "as soon as it melts, it evaporates and disappears." However, the researchers showed that they could melt enough brine so that it would not completely evaporate, thus creating conditions that might explain the flow features. Their model fits with the seasonal change in flow observations, with the flows occurring on equator facing slopes and with seasonal changes. Also, high surface evaporation rates as demonstrated in their model explain why, if there is water, it would disappear relatively quickly and why imaging spectrometry on Mars has not identified water signatures.

"No other current model really explains all the observations," Chevrier said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chevrier, V. F., and E. G. Rivera-Valentin. Formation of recurring slope lineae by liquid brines on present-day Mars. Geophys. Res. Lett., 2012 DOI: 1029/2012GL054119

Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Water could flow on Mars, model suggests; Scientists look at melting and evaporation of frozen brines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022112849.htm>.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. (2012, October 22). Water could flow on Mars, model suggests; Scientists look at melting and evaporation of frozen brines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022112849.htm
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Water could flow on Mars, model suggests; Scientists look at melting and evaporation of frozen brines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022112849.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins