Salty Dirt Pulls Water from the Atmosphere and It May happen on Mars


A study by Oregon State University geologist of the cold polar desert of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica has shown that the salty soils in the area is drawing water right from the atmosphere causing moist spots in an other wise bone dry stretch of land.

The affect can be seen with ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) in 75% humidity. If it is really cold 35% humidity will do. If left exposed it will form brine by drawing water vapor from the air Once formed this brine continues to pulling in water vapor until it reaches equilibrium (balance)  with the atmosphere.

 These results suggest that the same thing could happen on other planets such as Mars. In such a case salt in the soil on could draw water vapor from the Marian atmosphere producing moist spots. Such moist spots would have the potential of harboring life if any were to exist on Mars.

The possibility of life migrated from Earth to Mars in any number way including on board out space probes would make it possible to find life on Mars and other planetary bodies without it having originated on that world. This is not as unlikely it may seem since bacteria is continually being kicked into space from Earth on dust. If just a portion of this survived the trip to Mars this discovery suggests that it could portentously survive once there.

Reference

Salty Soil Can Suck Water out of Atmosphere: Could It Happen On Mars?

Quantification of Spore-forming Bacteria Carried by Dust Particles 

Mars Contamination Dust-Up

Bacteria: The Space Colonists

 

 

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