Understanding that the moisture of Mars could uncover the deep secrets of the past liveability of the planet

Mars has water – until no. Scientists think about four billion years ago, the planet has a large amount of liquid water on its surface. Enough to form rivers, lakes, sea, and even oceans – and may also support the life system.

But something happened during the following billion years. After triggering the loss of this water from the surface to all that remains.

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

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In recent years, the results of the Maven spacecraft that orbit NASA suggested:

This thinning water driver may 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 Mars air escaped into space, maybe carrying most planet water with him. But in a newspaper article published this week in the journal Science, Scheller and his colleagues.

They argued that this process might alone not explain the modern nature of Mars. Instead, they said that a large number of water planets.

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

“Losing [space] must be very large to explain the loss of all mars water,” said Bethany Ehlmann of Caltech, a colleague’s writer in this study, in a press direction this week which almost hosted and the planet of the Science Conference, where research Served.

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

Using this evidence from various MARS missions. The team found that the current atmospheric loss level is not enough to explain the loss of all mars water.

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

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

Thus, the relative deuterium scarcity in the atmosphere today. It shows that less water may disappear in this way than what is thought. An alternative explanation is needed.

Crucible hydration – where water is inserted into the mineral crystal structure – is a natural choice for that explanation. And in fact, previously proposed as an important mechanism for losing mars water.

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

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

Then the findings of Mars NASA’s surveillance orbits the results. In mapping hydrated minerals on the surface of Mars. “It becomes very clear that it’s common, and not infrequently, to find evidence of changes in water,” he added.

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This crustal hydration scenario:

That doesn’t mean Mars hid the wonderland liquid water beneath the surface. Conversely, because it will lock water in minerals, the Mars crust can be specifically enriched in clay and hydrated salts.

On earth, this process has not robbed us of the ocean. We can be associated with a tectonic plate, which allows the water-locked rock efficiently released through volcanic activity. On a free planet from tectonic plates like Mars, this water will remain trapped.

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

“There are various elements that can make the loss level into the room being 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 in the Flight Center. For Goddard NASA members and the main researchers on the instrument. On the Rover Curose on the surface of Mars and the Maven.

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