Experts have discovered a problem while researching hydrated perchlorates on Mars maps.
Scientists at Caltech (USA) have concluded that due to poor processing of data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter interplanetary station, the device erroneously recognizes the presence of hydrated salts on the red planet. Thus, some areas of the planet where water was previously assumed are in fact completely dry and lifeless.
Experts have discovered a problem during the research of hydrated perchlorates on maps of Mars, based on the information obtained by the spectrometer in visible and near infrared radiation (CRISM). Perchlorate reduces the freezing point of water to 80 degrees Celsius, allowing the existence of liquid water in the Martian atmosphere. The existence of perchlorates on Mars is also known due to the landing of the Phoenix spacecraft on the surface of the planet and the Rover Curiosity.
The presence of minerals on Mars, scientists are judged by the reflection of different wavelengths of the surface of the planet. Chemicals in a special way absorb and reflect light. However, the CRISM camera is not always correct, with the result of detecting reflected light spots where they should not be. Algorithms to correct such errors sometimes dive into spectra at the same wavelength as perchlorate. The scientists wrote an algorithm to identify small perchlorate deposits on the CRISM maps, and the program revealed the widespread presence of salts on the surface of Mars, including where there were no conditions for its formation.
Scientists are now working on a more accurate method for perchlorate recognition, which is based not only on spectral data. According to the researchers, perchlorates still present on Mars, however, it became clear that they are much more difficult to detect than previously thought.