YDS3-2018-4

ÖSYM • osym
Dec. 2, 2018 1 min

In 2015, it was discovered that liquid water forms on the surface of Mars during its warmest summer days. However, thanks to the low atmospheric pressure, it boils away almost instantly – the boiling point of water on Mars is just 20°C. Water was, therefore, believed to play little or no role in shaping the Martian surface. However, an international team of scientists has shown that even this short-lived boiling water does have a significant geological impact. The researchers, led by Marion Massé from the Laboratory of Planetology and Geodynamics of Nantes, recreated two environments: one inside a former diving decompression chamber at Mars-like pressure, and the other in a cold chamber at terrestrial pressure. When a block of ice melted under ‘Earth’ conditions, water simply soaked into the sand. When a block of ice melted under Mars- like pressure, though, its boiling caused bubbles to be emitted which disturbed the sand, leaving a pattern of ridges like the ones seen on the surface of Mars. With saltwater, the effects were more obvious.


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