Scientists Believe They Know What Happened To Water On Mars
There is evidence that Mars previously had water on its surface, but this has led to questions about where it went. Scientists now believe they have a greater understanding of what happened to the planet.
By using NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, scientists have been able to hypothesize what happened to the water on Mars. The scientists looked at the planet from 92 miles in the air, and the conclusions published in the journal Science are insightful.
By looking at the atmosphere of the planet, the scientists were able to find new information about the history of the planet. In this atmosphere, the team found water, and this has led to an interesting conclusion as to what happened to the water that was originally on the surface of Mars.
Author of the study Shane Stone is a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, and he told Inverse that it was a surprise to find this in the atmosphere, and it seems that dust storms are responsible for the lack of water on Mars.
It is believed that dust storms are emerging from the planet’s surface, sucking up the water molecules and sending them into the atmosphere. However, Stone noted that this does not lead to a typical water cycle process that takes place on Earth. Instead, the hydrogen particles are escaping the planet.
Because the hygropause of Mars works differently to Earth, the water moves into the upper atmosphere, where it is broken down into water and oxygen. It then leaves the atmosphere and Mars for good.
The dust storms mean Mars is continuously losing its remaining water, and this process repeated over millions of years is likely why the planet is so desolate now. Whether the water that was once on the planet could have made Mars habitable is still unclear, but this understanding of why water is disappearing is invaluable in the study of the atmosphere and climate of the planet.
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