Good news! The Mars rover Curiosity has discovered that there may be evidence for water on Mars. Data collected and presented in the paper, “Transient liquid water and water activity at Gale crater on Mars” shows the possibility of liquid brine or a salt water solution.
For decades, it was thought that Mars was too cold to have liquid water. However, it makes sense that brine would allow water to remain in its liquid for as salt effects the temperature of water such as with salt used to melt snow or ice. This salt is not sodium chloride, but instead is calcium perchlorate. Perchlorate salt attracts water molecules and prevents it from freezing.
While no brines were detected, there is the possibility that they may exist in the Gale Crater, especially during the night time. Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona said,
“Gale Crater is one of the least likely places on Mars to have conditions for brines to form, compared to sites at higher latitudes or with more shading. So if brines can exist there, that strengthens the case they could form and persist even longer at many other locations, perhaps enough to explain RSL activity.”
Life as we know it needs water in order to begin. If we, in fact, find it on Mars, then this can open up the door to even more discoveries, including microbial life. It is speculated that Mars had a vast ocean and an atmosphere similar to that found on Earth. Evidence of water on Mars would help expand on this hypothesis. In the meantime, we must wait and see to know more of Mars as Curiosity travels about the planet and gathers information.