Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Perchlorates on Mars

  • Daniela Tirsch
  • Alessandro Airo
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5088-2


Perchlorates are salts derived from the perchlorate acid (HClO4). They form through oxidative processes in the atmosphere and accumulate with the dust (Smith et al. 2014). In 2008 perchlorates were detected by the Phoenix lander in the Martian soil. Sample analysis by the NASA rover “Curiosity” at Gale crater suggest the presence of perchlorates in an aeolian dune at the location called “Rocknest”. Perchlorates are of particular relevance in terms of Habitability on Mars because they could oxidize and therefore decompose possible organic compounds. Furthermore, on Earth perchlorates found in the Atacama Desert have been shown to serve as Nutrients for microbes.

See Also


Organic Compound Sample Analysis Bioorganic Chemistry Oxidative Process Perchlorate Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Smith ML, Claire MW, Catling DC, Zahnle KJ (2014) The formation of sulfate, nitrate and perchlorate salts in the martian atmosphere. Icarus 231:51–64CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Aerospace Center DLRInstitute of Planetary ResearchBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Geologische Wissenschaften Tektonik und Sedimentäre GeologieFreie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich GeowissenschaftenBerlinGermany