- Raina Gough’s research focuses on the formation and stability of aqueous salt solutions on present day Mars. Mars is known to have abundant H2O in the gas (vapor) or solid (ice) phases, but until recently it was not thought that liquid water could exist. In the past years, however, spacecraft on Mars have collected data suggesting that liquid water may exist on the surface or in the subsurface for some portion of the Martian year. Pure liquid water is not thought to be stable due to the low pressures and temperatures found on the surface; however, salts such as perchlorates and chlorides are present in the Martian soil and may play a key role in stabilizing liquid water. We experimentally study the formation and stability of liquid salt solutions under low temperature conditions. We are particularly interested in deliquescence, which is a relative humidity-induced solid-to-aqueous phase transition.