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.

Related Articles


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 December 20, 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 December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) More than a year after NASA declared the Kepler spacecraft broken beyond repair, scientists have figured out how to continue getting useful data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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