Water on Mars Disappears Faster Than Scientists Initially Calculated

A new study possibly found why Mars lost its seas, rivers, and lakes. The surface of Mars is rocky, with canyons, volcanoes, dry lake beds, and craters all over it that suggest the existence of water billions of years ago. The Red Planet is also cold and dry; its remains of the water is mostly locked frozen in the polar ice caps. Sadly, the planet possesses less than 10% of the water that once flowed on the Martian surface.

Martian water mostly escaped into space according to previous studies. The recent findings show that large amounts of water might regularly make rapid intrusions into Mars’ upper atmosphere. Scientists analyzed data from the Mars-circling Trace Gas Orbiter, which is part of the European-Russian ExoMars program, focusing on the way water was distributed up and down the Martian atmosphere by altitude in 2018 and 2019.

Mars Is Losing Water Faster Than Researchers Initially Believed

The scientists discovered that seasonal changes were the main factors for the loss of water. During Mars’ warmest part of the year, large portions of the atmosphere became supersaturated with 10 to 100 times more water vapor than its average temperature. These extraordinary levels of saturation “are observed nowhere on any other body of the solar system,” said study co-lead author Franck Montmessin, a planetary scientist at the University of Paris-Saclay in France.”It should have been limited by the cold temperature up above and be bound to condense into clouds.”

All things considered, if water vapor can typically float so high into the Mars’ atmosphere without being restricted by condensation, “we might envision that water escape on Mars has been more way more effective than previously thought,” Montmessin said. More studies have to be done on this subject to understand better how the water vapor may escape into space and how much water is entering the upper atmosphere.

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