Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site

Nilton O. Rennó, Brent J. Bos, David Catling, Benton C. Clark, Line Drube, David Fisher, Walter Goetz, Stubbe F. Hviid, Horst Uwe Keller, Jasper F. Kok, Samuel P. Kounaves, Kristoffer Leer, Mark Lemmon, Morten Bo Madsen, Wojciech J. Markiewicz, John Marshall, Christopher McKay, Manish Mehta, Miles Smith, M. P. ZorzanoPeter Smith, Carol Stoker, Suzanne M M Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

113 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of the Phoenix mission is to determine if Mars' polar region can support life. Since liquid water is a basic ingredient for life, as we know it, an important goal of the mission is to determine if liquid water exists at the landing site. It is believed that a layer of Martian soil preserves ice by forming a barrier against high temperatures and sublimation, but that exposed ice sublimates without the formation of the liquid phase. Here we show possible independent physical and thermodynamical evidence that besides ice, liquid saline water exists in areas disturbed by the Phoenix Lander. Moreover, we show that the thermodynamics of freeze-thaw cycles can lead to the formation of saline solutions with freezing temperatures lower than current summer ground temperatures on the Phoenix landing site on Mars' Arctic. Thus, we hypothesize that liquid saline water might occur where ground ice exists near the Martian surface. The ideas and results presented in this article provide significant new insights into the behavior of water on Mars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE00E03
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume114
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Fingerprint

Phoenix (AZ)
landing sites
Landing
Ice
ice
liquid
Water
mars
Liquids
Mars
liquids
water
sublimate
Mercuric Chloride
freeze-thaw cycle
Sublimation
sublimation
low currents
polar region
ingredients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Rennó, N. O., Bos, B. J., Catling, D., Clark, B. C., Drube, L., Fisher, D., ... Young, S. M. M. (2009). Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 114(10), [E00E03]. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009JE003362

Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site. / Rennó, Nilton O.; Bos, Brent J.; Catling, David; Clark, Benton C.; Drube, Line; Fisher, David; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe F.; Keller, Horst Uwe; Kok, Jasper F.; Kounaves, Samuel P.; Leer, Kristoffer; Lemmon, Mark; Madsen, Morten Bo; Markiewicz, Wojciech J.; Marshall, John; McKay, Christopher; Mehta, Manish; Smith, Miles; Zorzano, M. P.; Smith, Peter; Stoker, Carol; Young, Suzanne M M.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 114, No. 10, E00E03, 10.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rennó, NO, Bos, BJ, Catling, D, Clark, BC, Drube, L, Fisher, D, Goetz, W, Hviid, SF, Keller, HU, Kok, JF, Kounaves, SP, Leer, K, Lemmon, M, Madsen, MB, Markiewicz, WJ, Marshall, J, McKay, C, Mehta, M, Smith, M, Zorzano, MP, Smith, P, Stoker, C & Young, SMM 2009, 'Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site', Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, vol. 114, no. 10, E00E03. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009JE003362
Rennó, Nilton O. ; Bos, Brent J. ; Catling, David ; Clark, Benton C. ; Drube, Line ; Fisher, David ; Goetz, Walter ; Hviid, Stubbe F. ; Keller, Horst Uwe ; Kok, Jasper F. ; Kounaves, Samuel P. ; Leer, Kristoffer ; Lemmon, Mark ; Madsen, Morten Bo ; Markiewicz, Wojciech J. ; Marshall, John ; McKay, Christopher ; Mehta, Manish ; Smith, Miles ; Zorzano, M. P. ; Smith, Peter ; Stoker, Carol ; Young, Suzanne M M. / Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site. In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 2009 ; Vol. 114, No. 10.
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