Sleeping rover has found signs of liquid water


30/10/2010

Soft Martian soil, which stuck Mars rover Spirit, gave reason to believe that under its surface flowing streams of water. But this happy discovery, it may be the last for the rover.

Wheels Spirit bogged down in a sandpit under the name "Troy" in April 2009, after five years of research, which took place mostly in a region called Home Plate. NASA officially announced the termination of attempts on his rescued in January 2010.

But the soil in which the rover’s wheels skidded proves that Mars may still contain water. Svezheotkrytye soil layers comprise water soluble minerals such as hematite, quartz, gypsum. However, mineral fibers of iron sulfate, which are easily dissolved, are deposited in a few centimeters below the surface.

The layers indicate the water content possibly in the form of snow which has penetrated into the soil comparatively recently and is soluble minerals in the deeper layers. This could happen in that period of history of Mars, when the planet had a greater inclination of its axis.

Neither soluble minerals are not presented on the surface of Mars, indicating that the contact may uninterrupted, soil water in the recent past. Since the Martian surface changes shape by the wind, these layers were washed away would be if lying for a long time.

Water could also go out of fumaroles, hot gases emerging from beneath the surface, as reported by the rover team in the journal Journal of Geophysical Research.

"On Earth, fumaroles, and hydrothermal systems create environmental conditions, provide water, nutrients and energy needed to sustain microbial communities," - wrote a team. An example is acidic, iron-rich hot springs in Yellowstone National Park.

"Probably just in the region Home Plate, as well as around it, is such a habitable environment" - wrote the team. Although the water may not be enough for long term maintenance of life.

After 10 attempts to get out of the trap, Spirit was able to pull in just 33 centimeters back on loose soil before NASA officially recognized the situation hopeless. Spirit has been completely shut down on March 22, to ride out the Martian winter. If the rover will come to life when the next month comes Martian spring, then by the time the soil will be fresh for research. The scientists also plan to take advantage of its fixed state to find out in a solid or liquid state is the bark of Mars, producing accurate measurements of the rover’s radio signal.

But this winter the temperature dropped lower than the Spirit ever experienced, and its solar panels were frozen in the opposite direction from the sun. So he may not wake up. The popular news portal talk about what’s going on in the world.


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