Mars, the red planet has yet again proved to be center of attraction. A new report suggests that Mars contain more oxygenated water than previously thought. A team of scientists at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory have made the breakthrough. They performed a series of calculations. And all the simulations led to the conclusion. If liquid water existed on Mars, it may contain more oxygen. However, there are no evidences supporting the hypothesis practically. But, the scientists are optimistic about the findings.
Mars have always made us curious. It indeed enhanced our imagination as well as creativity. One can consider the times when Hollywood would make science fiction movies based on Martians. Total recall is one such sci-fi movie that captured the essence of living on the red planet. Furthermore, these movies encouraged the dwellers on Earth to settle on Mars. The thought itself was thought-provoking. It inspired Elon Musk to dream of living on the red planet. His ambitious space X projects and the enthusiasm is still coming up with innovation to make that dream come alive. If the proposed calculations about oxygenated water are true, the chance of bringing the dream to live is increasing.
The basis of oxygenated water on Mars
Researchers have dismissed the idea of oxygenated water on Mars. This is because of the fact that Mars’ atmosphere is hostile. It shows tremendous climate change. Previous findings have shown that the surface of the planet may be close to the earth. But, the atmosphere is very thin. It is mostly made up of carbon dioxide. Also, there are several factors that are against the sustainability of life on Mars. In addition to high level of water vapors, the surface of the planet experience giant dust storms which may last for months.
According to NASA fact sheet, Carbon dioxide accounts up to 95.32% and oxygen to 0.13%. But, the current levels have changed that exceed the threshold. Findings now support the hypotheses that Mars have the potential to host life. The team examined global climate pattern of 20 million years. And the changes are remarkable. At low-enough elevations, the team found out that the atmosphere is thick. In such scenarios, the gases like oxygen are more likely to stay in a liquid solution. It is also suggested that the water was present on the surface but later on the water vanished and atmosphere became thin. So, how did that happen?
How did water leave the surface of Mars?
There is a belief that Mars has a transition from wet planet to cold and dry one. However, there are no clear cut evidences. But, the explanations are justified. The most obvious explanation is that Mars’ water slowly diffused into outer space. Because Mars is considerably smaller than the Earth, its interior cooled much more quickly. When the Red Planet’s magnetic field petered out around 4 billion years ago, the loss of this atmosphere-protecting shield would have allowed water vapor to escape. They state that the water may have gone into the Mars’ interior.
Scientists have done major modeling of how the rocks can have impacted the atmosphere of the red planet. And the findings are also in favor of the statement that oxygenated water on Mars is not a fluke. The model and simulations suggest that Mars’ mantle may contain water twice as much as Earth.
However, NASA is still trying to understand the actual reason behind such paradigm shift. They have sent MAVEN to Mars. The primary goal is to determine how much of the atmosphere and water lost into the space.