Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site
Article first published online: 14 OCT 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (1991–2012)
Volume 114, Issue E1, January 2009
How to Cite
2009), Possible physical and thermodynamical evidence for liquid water at the Phoenix landing site, J. Geophys. Res., 114, E00E03, doi:10.1029/2009JE003362., et al. (
- Issue published online: 14 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 14 OCT 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 7 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 24 JUN 2009
- Manuscript Received: 7 FEB 2009
- liquid water;
 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.