– This is an important step towards a final proof of the existence of liquid water on Mars. The new results support our own current research objectives, confirm our findings, and reinforces the effect of the article we published in April this year. The new research findings and our previous results are clearly complementary and reinforce each other at the same time, says Javier Martin-Torres, professor of atmospheric science at Luleå University of Technology.
Important step towards the final proof of liquid water
The new finding is the detection of evidence for hydrated salts in the soil of certain downslope drainages on Mars. For this detection they have used images and data taken by two instruments, onboard the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter, a satellite orbiting around Mars for ten years. The two instruments are HiRise a High Resolution camera, and CRISM a spectrometer measuring in the visible and near-infrared.
Javier Martin-Torres believes that the space organizations and the scientific community should now focus its efforts on the difficult task to unequivocally capture the liquid state of water, in real-time on Mars. It is a very elusive detection because the state of brines and water change with temperature and humidity.
New research soon public
The discoveries of Javier Martin-Torres and his team, that were published this spring in Nature Geoscience, has had far-reaching implications, such as this one. Their article had a big international impact and it was highly acclaimed. These days, he is on the spot again but now he gets the honor to comment on other researchers' discoveries on Mars.
– The impact of the new discovery could be significant, particularly now that we live in a golden age in terms of exploration of Mars. Space agencies and the scientific community should now focus their efforts on detecting water in liquid state, says Javier Martin-Torres professor of atmospheric science at Luleå University of Technology.
He will now continue analyzing data from the REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) instrument onboard the unmanned spacecraft Curiosity on Mars. The data from this meteorological station were used to prove that there is a daily water exchange between soil and atmosphere and that the environmental conditions are such that liquid water can exist by salt deliquescence, water absorption by salt up to melting into a liquid drops.
– We are now planning to build an environmental chamber in Kiruna to capture these processes in real time and to quantify the amount of available water involved in this process,says Javier Martin-Torres.
Luleå University of Technology will participate in a series of research projects related to study Mars.
– Of course we continue the daily analysis of Mars data. We have a couple of nice research results that will be published soon, says Javier Martin-Torres.