Where did the water of Mars go? Researchers deny all previous hypotheses

Where did the water of Mars go? Researchers deny all previous hypotheses


Mars has been wet for a long time, with many bodies of water.

But this changed dramatically billions of years ago, leaving the desolate surface known today.


So where did the waters of Mars go?

Researchers suggest that between 30% and 99% of Mars water may now be trapped within minerals in its crust, breaking the well-established notion that it was simply lost in space through infiltration through the upper atmosphere.


Eva Schiller, a PhD researcher at the California Institute of Technology and lead author of the NASA study, which was published Tuesday in the journal Science, said:


We see that most of the Martian water was lost in the crust. The water was lost three billion years ago, which means that Mars was that dry planet as it is today for the past three billion years.


Early Mars may have had water on its surface about half the size of the Atlantic Ocean, enough to cover the entire planet with water up to 1.5 kilometers in height.


Water is made up of one oxygen and two hydrogens. The amount of an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium found on Mars provides some evidence of water loss.


Unlike most hydrogen atoms, which have a single proton inside their nuclei, deuterium or "heavy" hydrogen has a proton and a neutron.


Ordinary hydrogen can seep through the atmosphere into space to a greater degree than deuterium.

Scientists say the loss of water through the atmosphere would have left a much larger proportion of deuterium than regular hydrogen.

The researchers used a model that simulated the hydrogen isotope composition and water volume on Mars.


The researchers pointed out that much of the water did not actually leave the planet, but ended up in various minerals that contain water as part of its structure, especially clay and sulfur.

And this confined water, as abundant as it appears when viewed as a whole, may not provide a viable resource for future Mars space missions.


Schiller said:


The volume of water inside a rock or block of minerals is extremely small. You have to heat a lot of rocks to get water out of them in a noticeable amount.


These hypotheses came after NASA's recent repeated attempts to ascertain the reality of life on Mars, such as sending the Perseverance spacecraft, which arrived on this planet about a month ago, and which NASA sent with the snake stick symbol in honor of the efforts of health workers.

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