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EVIDENCE FOR LIQUID WATER ON CURRENT MARS

1.          At Viking 2, The temperatures of the soil in contact with the soil collector head, measured by a thermocouple, rose as the Sun rose to, and a little beyond, the zenith. The temperature of the soil beneath the collector head at the Viking 2 site reached 273 degrees Kelvin (0 degrees Centigrade, the melting point of water ice), at 14.21 (2:21 p.m.) local lander time, on Sol 41, and did not rise above that during the “10-minute or more” measuring interval (Moore, H.J. et al., "Surface Materials of the Viking Landing Sites," J. Geophys. Res., 82:28, 4497-4523, 1977.)

This was first pointed out by G. V. Levin in “The Viking Labeled Release Experiment and Life on Mars,” Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms, SPIE Proceedings, 3111, 146-161, July 1997. 

Nothing else behaves this way but ice melting to liquid. Furthermore, because the melting point of the ice was 273K, this is proof that the water ice was virtually pure water, not brine as suggested by many, nor even salty.  Had salt been present, the melting point would have been lower than 273K (still in a range monitored by Viking).  The melting point of a compound is definite proof of its identity, just as a fingerprint or DNA.  

2.          Carr (Carr, M. H., Water on Mars, Figure 1-2, P 10, Oxford University Press, New York, 1996.) states, “Water vapor was assumed to be distributed throughout the entire atmospheric column.” The Mars Atmospheric Water Detector (MAWD) determined 10 to 100 um of precipitable water vapor in the Mars atmospheric column.  However, as determined by Pathfinder, the warm part of the atmosphere is confined to less than one meter, perhaps only centimeters, above the surface. Thus, the saturation of the atmosphere reported by MAWD must be near the surface.  If so, it must be in equilibrium with the surface material where that equilibrium would include water in liquid phase.

3.          Carr, cited above, points out that “As long as the total atmospheric pressure exceeds the triple point, liquid water will not boil, and, if formed, could exist on the surface for a biologically significant time.”

Here is the triple point diagram of water, showing temperatures and atmospheric pressure for water as solid, liquid and gas.  The ranges on Mars where measured temperatures and pressures require water be in liquid phase are hatched in red (Levin, G. V. and R. Levin, “Liquid water and life on Mars,” Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, SPIE Proceedings, 3441, 30-41, July 1998). 

 

4.          This NASA image shows ice as snow or frost at the site of Viking 2.

 

               

 

5.   Experiments done at UC Berkeley simulating Martian environmental conditions showed water ice to liquefy and remain for biologically significant periods of time (Levin, G. V., Life on Mars, Dawn of a New Age, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, SPIE Proceedings, poster presentation, July 2001).

  1. 6.     Odyssey findings: “CO2 Snow Depth and Subsurface Water-Ice Abundance in the Northern Hemisphere of Mars,” G. Mitrofanov et al. Science, 300, 2081-2084, 2003; Los Alamos National Laboratory, News Release, July 24, 2003.) reported this year reveal the Mars north polar area to be even richer in hydrogen and of greater extent, including towards equatorial latitudes, than in the south polar and adjacent regions.  The July 24 news release confirms and extends these findings, reporting up to 50 percent water by mass in polar regions and from two to ten percent in areas closer to the equator.
    1. The Pathfinder surface atmospheric pressure and thermal data show that the conditions for liquid

 

 

     water prevail on Mars.

8.  Levin, G. V., “If it looks like muck, and it puddles like muck, and it. tracks like muck, it must be muck.” In “ Interpretation of new results from Mars with respect to life,” Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, SPIE Proceedings 5555, 14, 2004.

NASA image:

                    Image from Rover Opportunity, showing tracks made by collapsing air bag dragged through what appears to be mud.

 

9.  Phoenix photographed droplets of water on lander strut.

Droplets (highlighted in green) appear to merge in a series of shots taken from the Phoenix Mars Lander

 

10.  Curiosity detects liquid water in its John 4th sample.

 

11.  Finally, as Groucho said, “Who do you believe, me or your own eyes?”