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#1 2011-12-16 20:35:12

JonClarke
Member
From: Canberra, Australia
Registered: 2005-07-08
Posts: 173

Distribution of liquid water on Mars

Forth-coming paper

http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10 … .2011.0660

We present a comprehensive model of martian pressure-temperature (P-T) phase space and compare it with that of Earth. Martian P-T conditions compatible with liquid water extend to a depth of 310 km. We use our phase space model of Mars and of terrestrial life to estimate the depths and extent of the water on Mars that is habitable for terrestrial life. We find an extensive overlap between inhabited terrestrial phase space and martian phase space. The lower martian surface temperatures and shallower martian geotherm suggest that, if there is a hot deep biosphere on Mars, it could extend 7 times deeper than the 5 km depth of the hot deep terrestrial biosphere in the crust inhabited by hyperthermophilic chemolithotrophs. This corresponds to 3.2% of the volume of present-day Mars being potentially habitable for terrestrial-like life.

News story http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/In_Sea … s_999.html

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#2 2011-12-17 08:40:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,854

Re: Distribution of liquid water on Mars

JonClarke wrote:

Forth-coming paper

http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10 … .2011.0660

We present a comprehensive model of martian pressure-temperature (P-T) phase space and compare it with that of Earth. Martian P-T conditions compatible with liquid water extend to a depth of 310 km. We use our phase space model of Mars and of terrestrial life to estimate the depths and extent of the water on Mars that is habitable for terrestrial life. We find an extensive overlap between inhabited terrestrial phase space and martian phase space. The lower martian surface temperatures and shallower martian geotherm suggest that, if there is a hot deep biosphere on Mars, it could extend 7 times deeper than the 5 km depth of the hot deep terrestrial biosphere in the crust inhabited by hyperthermophilic chemolithotrophs. This corresponds to 3.2% of the volume of present-day Mars being potentially habitable for terrestrial-like life.

News story http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/In_Sea … s_999.html


Very interesting. Potentially I guess, there might be a hot springs area on Mars. Is that a valid conclusion? I am still intrigued by the idea of creating a mini-earth in a deep canyon, which we would cover and give an atmosphere.

If there are microbes down there, which sounds increasingly likely the argument cuts both ways. There will be those who say humans should not "contaminate" the environment. But I would argue Mars is now the perfect target for exploration: the surface desert appears abiotic whereas we can search for organisms below the surface without disturbing that environment.

Thinking about this though, aren't there very likely to be places where multi-cellular organisms would have evolved...?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#3 2011-12-17 16:21:14

JonClarke
Member
From: Canberra, Australia
Registered: 2005-07-08
Posts: 173

Re: Distribution of liquid water on Mars

Basically there is a huge colume of Mars in which liquid water is possible, given certain assumptions about heat flow.  We don't know the martian heatflow, un fortunately.

Not all liquid water appears habitable - some is too hot, as Eriita Jones showed in an earlier paper.

Very near surface habitable zones also exist, but they have different drivers (insolation rather than heat flow).  That's another chapter of Eriita's thesis.

We don't know whether life appeared unders such conditions - but then we don't know the conditions under which life appeared here.

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