Water Activity and the Challenge for Life on Early Mars

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Water Activity and the Challenge for Life on Early Mars

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Title: Water Activity and the Challenge for Life on Early Mars
Author: Knoll, Andrew; Tosca, Nicholas J.; McLennan, Scott M.

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Citation: Tosca, Nicholas J., Andrew. H. Knoll, and Scott M. McLennan. 2008. Water activity and the challenge for life on early Mars. Science 320, no. 5880: 1204-1207.
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Abstract: In situ and orbital exploration of the martian surface has shown that acidic, saline liquid water was intermittently available on ancient Mars. The habitability of these waters depends critically on water activity (aH2O), a thermodynamic measure of salinity, which, for terrestrial organisms, has sharply defined limits. Using constraints on fluid chemistry and saline mineralogy based on martian data, we calculated the maximum aH2O for Meridiani Planum and other environments where salts precipitated from martian brines. Our calculations indicate that the salinity of well-documented surface waters often exceeded levels tolerated by known terrestrial organisms.
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1155432
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3007646
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