Detection of perchlorate and the soluble chemistry of martian soil at the phoenix lander site

M. H. Hecht, S. P. Kounaves, R. C. Quinn, S. J. West, S. M.M. Young, D. W. Ming, D. C. Catling, B. C. Clark, W. V. Boynton, J. Hoffman, L. P. DeFlores, K. Gospodinova, J. Kapit, P. H. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

700 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Wet Chemistry Laboratory on the Phoenix Mars Lander performed aqueous chemical analyses of martian soil from the polygon-patterned northern plains of the Vastitas Borealis. The solutions contained ∼10 mM of dissolved salts with 0.4 to 0.6% perchlorate (ClO4) by mass leached from each sample. The remaining anions included small concentrations of chloride, bicarbonate, and possibly sulfate. Cations were dominated by Mg2+ and Na +, with small contributions from K+ and Ca2+. A moderately alkaline pH of 7.7 ± 0.5 was measured, consistent with a carbonate-buffered solution. Samples analyzed from the surface and the excavated boundary of the ∼5-centimeter-deep ice table showed no significant difference in soluble chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-67
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume325
Issue number5936
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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