NEW YORK (TIP): Researchers have discovered that water could have flowed on the surface of Mars with the help of salt present in the Martian soil that can melt ice. The findings reveal that Martian salts can help liquid water form but only when the salts touch the ice. “It takes ice to make liquid water on Mars,” said Nilton Renno, a planetary and atmospheric scientist at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Researchers found that the conditions that support salty water on the Red Planet can last for a few hours per day during late spring and early summer at the polar regions of Mars. “They probably can last weeks per year or even longer in the shallow subsurface at mid-latitudes. We are talking about the formation of small amounts of liquid water like droplets, not rivers and lakes,” Renno was quoted as saying in a Live Science report. It means that the shallow subsurface of Mars could be habitable,” Renno added.

To understand this, Fischer and team recreated Mars conditions in their lab in metal cylinders. The scientists mimicked temperatures in the late Martian spring and early summer as well as atmospheric pressure. When the scientists placed calcium perchlorate or salty soil directly on ice layer, drops of liquid water formed within minutes, researchers found. Last year, Nasa’s Mars rover Curiosity has discovered water locked up in the planet’s surface soil.

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