By AMIA McDONALD, age 11

PHOTO: NASA
PHOTO: NASA

Recent discoveries have proven that Mars has liquid brine (salty water) slightly beneath its surface. Mars has extremely low surface temperatures, ranging between 27 degrees Celsius at its equator and -133 degrees Celsius at its poles. These temperatures made it seem unlikely that liquid water could exist on the red planet, even though there have been traces of ice deposits on Mars’ surface. However, the presence of calcium perchlorate, a type of salt, lowers the freezing temperature of water to around -70C, allowing the soil to be moist.

In 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered round pebbles on the surface of Mars, which is evidence that there were flowing rivers in the past that eroded the stones. Instruments on the Curiosity have also measured small quantities of water between the grains of soil on Mars.

Many would believe that since water is on Mars, one day, we may discover life on the planet. However, because of the very cold and dry environment coupled with the cosmic radiation from the Sun, it would be extremely hard for life to be sustainable on the planet. Though scientists say that there is a possibility that life existed on the planet more than a billion years ago.