• Question: Do you feel that the recent discovery of water on Mars helps you in any way to further continue your research?

    Asked by Jake_Kiddell to Anne on 6 Oct 2015.
    • Photo: Anne Visscher

      Anne Visscher answered on 6 Oct 2015:

      Hi Jake,

      The recent discovery of water on Mars was interesting because it showed again (like the findings from orbiting satellites and rovers) that there are high levels of salts associated with the presence of water on Mars. The salts that they have found on Mars seem to contain a lot of magnesium.
      During my PhD research at the University of Florida I looked at the effects of salts like magnesium sulphate on the growth of plants. Although I am working with seeds in my present job, the next phase for this research area could be to see if plants on Earth that have evolved to deal with high magnesium and low calcium in the soil (for example plants naturally growing on serpentine soils) can grow in these wet and salty areas on Mars.