Modeling the climate of Mars showed the unsuitability of its ancient seas for life – at least in the form in which it exists on Earth. A study by scientists from the Southwest Research Institute is published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
On modern Mars, where low temperatures prevail, a drop of water instantly freezes or evaporates. When salt is added, the solution will evaporate more slowly – due to this, salts are found all over Mars and form brines frozen compounds with a small water content.
Researchers have suggested that living organisms can be found in these brines. To test this hypothesis, they compiled a model based on Martian climate data collected from space and ground-based observations.
The main objective of the model was to determine how saturated the brines are with water – the main component for the presence of life in them. The work showed that some brines are saturated with water by about 40%, but this figure is seasonal and lasts only for 2% of the Martian year. The rest of the time, the liquid water content in the brines is close to zero.
Stable brines, according to a study by scientists, can also form at the equator to high latitudes on the surface of Mars and persist for six hours a day – but only in that 2 % of the year when the air temperature rises slightly above average. At the same time, the temperature of the brines remains below the critical level for the existence of life.
These data show that life in Martian brines cannot exist in the usual sense, the study says.