Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Model Suggests Water Could Flow on Mars

23.10.2012
Researchers look at melting and evaporation of frozen brines

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.

CONTACTS:
Vincent Chevrier, research professor, Arkansas Space and Planetary Sciences
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-2183, vchevrie@uark.edu
Melissa Lutz Blouin, senior director of academic communications
University Relations
479-575-5555, blouin@uark.edu

Melissa Lutz Blouin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>