Understand that the humidity of Mars could reveal the deep secrets of the planet’s past habitability

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Understand that the humidity of Mars could reveal the deep secrets of the planet's past habitability


Mars has water – until no. Scientists believe that around four billion years ago the planet had a large amount of liquid water on its surface. Enough to form rivers, lakes, sea and even oceans – and can also support the life system.
But something happened over the next billion years. After triggering the loss of this water from the surface to whatever is left.

It is a cold and dry desert in the world that we see today. Why and how this happens rather a mystery. “We don’t know why the water content is decreasing and Mars is dry.” Says Eva Scheller of the California Institute of Technology.

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In recent years, results from the Maven spacecraft orbiting NASA suggest:

This water dilution factor can be a loss of atmosphere. In the past, for unknown reasons, Mars lost its strong magnetic field. By revealing the planet to erode the explosion of the sun.

As a result, most of the air from Mars escaped into space, possibly taking most of the planet’s water with it. But in a journal article published this week in the journal Science, Scheller and colleagues.

They argued that this process alone may not explain the modern nature of Mars. Instead, they said a lot of aquatic planets.

Between 30 and 99 percent – retreated into the crust, where it has remained today, in a process known as moisturizing crust.

“Loser [space] must be very large to explain the loss of all the March water, ”said Bethany Ehlmann of Caltech, author of a colleague in this study, in a direction of press this week that almost hosted and the planet of the conference scientific, where the research served.

“We realize we need to pay attention to the evidence. 10 to 15 years from the last exploration of Mars in terms of water in the crust of Mars. “

Use of this evidence from various MARS missions. The team found that the current level of atmospheric loss is not sufficient to explain the loss of all of the March water.

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Also, the ratio of deuterium observed to hydrogen in the atmosphere of Mars:

Important instructions for working on the juicy past – also incompatible with all the planetary water lost in space. While hydrogen is light enough to glide easily from the gravity grip of planets, heavier deuterium isotopes cannot.

Thus, the relative scarcity of deuterium in the atmosphere today. This shows that less water can disappear this way than you think. Another explanation is needed.

Hydration of the crucible – where water is inserted into the mineral crystal structure – is a natural choice for this explanation. And in fact, previously proposed as an important mechanism for losing March water.

Various rows of evidence convincingly indicate that the process must occur at certain points in the history of the planet.

For example, the results of the neutron spectrometer instrument. On NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which arrived on the planet in 2001. It showed that “Basically everywhere the crust has at least 2 percent water,” Ehlmann said. “In the equator, it’s water on the ground and rock.”

Then the results of NASA surveillance on Mars go around the results. By mapping hydrated minerals on the surface of Mars. “It is becoming very clear that it is common, and not infrequently, to find evidence of changes in water,” he added.

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This crustal hydration scenario:

This does not mean that Mars hid the liquid water of the Wonderland below the surface. Conversely, because it will trap water in minerals, the crust of Mars can be specifically enriched with clay and hydrated salts.

On land, this process has not stolen the ocean from us. One can be associated with a tectonic plate, which allows the rock locked by water to be released efficiently thanks to the volcanic activity. On a planet free of tectonic plates like Mars, this water will remain trapped.

If the current level of the atmosphere is the same as the old one. Then the crust’s hydration level will likely be closer to the estimated 99%, Scheller said. “But where we get the uncertainty is what the atmospheric structure of Mars looks like. [in the past], ” he said.

“There are various things that can make the level of loss in the room quite high.” One possible way is a MARS dust storm, which can dramatically increase the level of loss, said Paul Mahaffy.

The director of the solar system exploration division at the flight center. For NASA Goddard members and principal investigators on the instrument. On the Rover Curose on the surface of Mars and the Maven.

During a global dust storm, he said, “the equivalent of a year of hydrogen from water can be lost in just 45 days. So a story of water loss from time to time [on Mars] complex and not fully constrained. “

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