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  • Martin-Torres, Javier, et al. (författare)
  • Transient liquid water and water activity at Gale crater on Mars
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Nature Geoscience. - 1752-0894 .- 1752-0908. ; 8:5, s. 357-361
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • 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.
  • Moores, John E., et al. (författare)
  • Atmospheric movies acquired at the Mars Science Laboratory landing site : Cloud Morphology, Frequency and Significance to the Gale Crater Water Cycle and Phoenix Mission Results
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: Advances in Space Research. - 0273-1177 .- 1879-1948. ; 55:9, s. 2217-2238
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • We report on the first 360 sols (LS 150° to 5°), representing just over half a Martian year, of atmospheric monitoring movies acquired using the NavCam imager from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover Curiosity. Such movies reveal faint clouds that are difficult to discern in single images. The data set acquired was divided into two different classifications depending upon the orientation and intent of the observation. Up to sol 360, 73 Zenith Movies and 79 Supra-Horizon Movies have been acquired and time-variable features could be discerned in 25 of each. The data set from MSL is compared to similar observations made by the Surface Stereo Imager (SSI) onboard the Phoenix Lander and suggests a much drier environment at Gale Crater (4.6°S) during this season than was observed in Green Valley (68.2°N) as would be expected based on latitude and the global water cycle. The optical depth of the variable component of clouds seen in images with features are up to 0.047 ± 0.009 with a granularity to the features observed which averages 3.8 degrees. MCS also observes clouds during the same period of comparable optical depth at 30 and 50 km that would suggest a cloud spacing of 2.0 to 3.3 km. Multiple motions visible in atmospheric movies support the presence of two distinct layers of clouds. At Gale Crater, these clouds are likely caused by atmospheric waves given the regular spacing of features observed in many Zenith movies and decreased spacing towards the horizon in sunset movies consistent with clouds forming at a constant elevation. Reanalysis of Phoenix data in the light of the NavCam equatorial dataset suggests that clouds may have been more frequent in the earlier portion of the Phoenix mission than was previously thought.
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