We studied the low-temperature properties of sodium and magnesium perchlorate solutions as potential liquid brines at the Phoenix landing site. We determined their theoretical eutectic values to be 236 ± 1 K for 52 wt% sodium perchlorate and 206 ± 1 K for 44.0 wt% magnesium perchlorate. Evaporation rates of solutions at various concentrations were measured under martian conditions, and range from 0.07 to 0.49 mm h-1 for NaClO4 and from 0.06 to 0.29 mm h-1 for Mg(ClO4)2. The extrapolation to Phoenix landing site conditions using our theoretical treatment shows that perchlorates are liquid during the summer for at least part of the day, and exhibit very low evaporation rates. Moreover, magnesium perchlorate eutectic solutions are thermodynamically stable over vapour and ice during a few hours a day. We conclude that liquid brines may be present and even stable for short periods of time at the Phoenix landing site.
Geophysical Research Letters
- Pub Date:
- May 2009
- Planetary Sciences: Solar System Objects: Mars;
- Planetary Sciences: Solid Surface Planets: Surface materials and properties;
- Planetary Sciences: Solid Surface Planets: Hydrology and fluvial processes;
- Planetary Sciences: Solid Surface Planets: Ices