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Proceedings Paper

The discovery of liquid water on Mars and its implications for astrobiology
Author(s): N. O. Rennó; M. Mehta; B. P. Block; S. Braswell
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Paper Abstract

Since liquid water is a key ingredient for life as we know it, NASA has adopted the theme "follow the water" as an strategy for exploring Mars. Recently, Renno et al.1,2 showed evidence that liquid saline-water exists in areas disturbed by the Phoenix Mars Lander. Moreover, they argued that the thermodynamics of freeze-thaw cycles leads to the formation of concentrated saline solutions (brines) with freezing temperatures much higher than current summer ground temperatures where ground ice exists near the surface and therefore liquid saline-water should be common on Mars. Here we summarize these ideas, present some new results, and discuss their implications for astrobiology. We propose a strategy for searching for liquid saline water on Mars and argue that NASA's theme for the exploration of Mars should be updated to "follow the liquid water."

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 September 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7441, Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII, 74410C (4 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.832195
Show Author Affiliations
N. O. Rennó, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor (United States)
M. Mehta, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor (United States)
B. P. Block, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor (United States)
S. Braswell, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7441:
Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII
Kurt D. Retherford; Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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