Experts found a problem in looking for hydrated perchlorates on the maps of Mars.
Researchers at Caltec (the US) concluded that due to incorrect data processing from the Mars Reconstitution Orbiter interplanetary station, the device mistakenly recognized the presence of hydrated salts on the red planet. Thus, some areas of the planet, where water was previously assumed, were actually completely dry and lifeless.
Experts found a problem in searching for hydrated perchlorates on Mars maps based on information from the visible and near-infrared (CRISM) spectrometer. Perchlorate reduces the freezing point of water at 80 degrees Celsius, making it possible to have liquid water in the atmosphere of Mars. The existence of perchlorates on Mars is also known because of the Phoenix spacecraft that landed on the surface of the planet and the Curious Rover.
The presence of minerals on Mars, scientists, is judged by reflecting different wavelengths from the surface of the planet. Chemicals in a special way absorb and reflect light. However, the CRISM camera is not always correct to detect reflected light spots where they should not be. Algorithms for correcting such errors sometimes make drops in spectra at the same wavelength as perchlorate. Scientists have written an algorithm that identifies small deposits of perchlorate on the CRISM maps, and the program revealed the wide presence of salts on the surface of Mars, including where there are no conditions for their formation.
Scientists are now working on a more accurate method of recognizing perchlorate, which is based not only on spectral data. According to the researchers, perchlorates still present on Mars have made it clear that they are much more difficult to detect than previously thought.