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 Riddle of matter remains unsolved: Proton and antiproton share fundamental properties
19.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration
18.10.2017 | NASA/Johnson Space 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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction

19.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Integrated lab-on-a-chip uses smartphone to quickly detect multiple pathogens

19.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Fossil coral reefs show sea level rose in bursts during last warming

19.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>