Humanity has never gone to Mars, but the good news is that it sent some intelligent machines there that are capable of exploring the surface. One recent discovery has to do with volcanoes that are spewing out mud instead of lava. A group of scientists led by Dr. Petr Brož from the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geophysics wanted to find out how those volcanoes behave compared to those from our planet.
By examining simulated Martian mud in the laboratory, scientists concluded that they behave a bit like boiling toothpaste.
The mud resembles the pahoehoe
Pahoehoe is a type of lava present here on Earth, as it can be found in some volcanoes. Lionel Wilson from the Lancaster University in the UK declared:
We performed experiments in a vacuum chamber to simulate the release of mud on Mars,
This is of interest because we see many flow-like features on Mars in spacecraft images, but they have not yet been visited by any of the roving vehicles on the surface and there is some ambiguity about whether they are flows of lava or mud.
The experiment of the researchers consisted of a low-pressure cylindrical chamber of 90 centimeters in diameter and 180 centimeters in length. This was carefully pressurized at 7 millibars for simulating the pressure from Mars’ atmosphere for 15 experiments. There were also 1,000 millibars for simulating Earth’s atmospheric pressure at sea level for 6 experiments.
The research was published in Nature Geoscience.
Surely any kind of information about the Red Planet is useful. As NASA plans to send humans on the Red Planet, humanity needs to know as much as possible about what such a mission implies. Mars could be far less friendly than Earth. The Universe could become an unexpectedly dangerous place if we don’t know what we’re doing, even while astronomers wear their spacesuits.