Studies Say That Mars’ Liquid Brines Aren’t Habitable

Liquid brines are located on Mars, and recent studies have shown that they are more common and longer-lasting than scientists once thought. According to the Nature Astronomy journal, their properties, along with their temperatures also make them uninhabitable for the Earth’s microorganisms.

The planet Mars from afar
Studies Say That Mars’ Liquid Brines Aren’t Habitable

What Are Liquid Brines?

Brine is a very concentrated solution that consists of salt (NaCl) in water (H20). Brine can be referred to as a variety of salt solutions that range from the standard concentration of seawater – 3.5% up to close to 26% which is a standard saturated solution based on its temperature.

Salts that come in contact with water reduce the freezing point temperature along with the water vapor pressure.

Mars is a planet in our solar system that is the most Earth-like which is why it is constantly being explored. It has quite large reservoirs of H20, which is one of the essentials for human life.

Liquid Brines on Mars

Liquid Brines on Mars from above
Studies Say That Mars’ Liquid Brines Aren’t Habitable

Few regions or environments on Mars can host liquid water that meets specific temperature and water activity requirements. These allow for terrestrial organisms to replicate.

The atmosphere on Mars is too thin and cold, which doesn’t allow the stable liquid to persist on the surface. However, the presence of salt can create liquid substances, brines, and they can last in stable condition for quite some time.

Edgard Rivera-Valentin, who works at the Universities Space Research Association in Texas alongside Vincent Chevrier, from the University of Arkansas, combined a thermodynamic model that has a climate model able to investigate exactly where brine can form on planet Mars and for how long.

The results showed that the metastability expands the locations along with the duration of the brines on Mars, which is way beyond what any previous thought. It does this because of the surrounding equatorial regions.

Edgard and Vincent, along with other colleagues, found that up to 40% of the Martian surface can host stable brines, no matter the latitude. They also concluded that the brines could last up to 6 consecutive hours and 2% of the Martian year.