An “indirect evidence of transient liquid water” has been discovered near the surface of Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover.
In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience entitled “Transient liquid water and water activity at Gale crater on Mars,” researchers studied relative humidity and the temperature of the air and the ground in order to discover night-time transient liquid brines that form 5 cm off the planet’s subsurface, which then disappears come sunrise through evaporation.
The discovery shouldn’t get alien fans hopeful, though, as the liquid’s temperature measures around -70C, which is too cold to be able to support any life form, microbial or not, known to man.
Relative humidity and temperature were measured by the Rover Environmental Monitoring System (REMS), the Curiosity rover’s weather-measuring system, around the Gale Crater where it landed.
In a conversation with BBC News, Javier Martin-Torres, who is an investigator for the Curiosity mission and also the lead scientist for REMS, said, “What we see are the conditions for the formation of brines on the surface.”
“It’s similar to when people were discovering the first exoplanets. They were not seeing the planets, but they were able to see the gravitational effects on the star.”
Martin-Torres further marvelled at the existence of a daily water cycle on the Red Planet. While on Earth, a water cycle is performed between the atmosphere and the ground, Mars’ cycle is constantly maintained by the presence of the brines.