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Brines on Mars

Salty subsurface oceans may exist on the Red Planet and could force scientists to rethink their view of the planet

The Phoenix Mars Lander has been entombed in ice on the Red Planet since November, but the extraordinarily salty tale it has told endures. The surprisingly high concentration of perchlorate salts found in the Martian polar soil by Phoenix’s wet chemistry lab last year — as much as a few percent — could mean that shallow, extremely briny reserves of water lie just below much of the Martian surface, several researchers will report next week at the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

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