Mars was destined to dry out due to its small size, new research suggests.
NASA’s curiosity Perseverance Rover, scientists know that in ancient times, liquid water flowed across the surface of Mars. The Red Planet once hosted lakes, rivers, streams, and perhaps even the giant oceans that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere.
However, almost all of its surface water was lost in space about 3.5 billion years ago. With much of the Martian atmosphere.. Scientists believe that this dramatic climate change occurred after the loss of the global magnetic field that prevented Martian air from being stripped by charged particles flowing from the Sun.
Related: Exploration of water on Mars (photo)
However, new research confirms this closest cause by a more fundamental impetus. Mars It is too small to retain surface water for long periods of time.
“The fate of Mars was determined from the beginning,” said Khun Wan, an assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, co-author of the study. Said in a statement.. “There may be a threshold on the size requirements of rocky planets to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics.” Scientists believe that threshold is greater than Mars. I am.
The research team — led by Gentian, a graduate student in Wang’s lab — examined 20 Martian meteorite, They chose to represent the bulk composition of the Red Planet. Researchers have measured the abundance of various isotopes of potassium in these extraterrestrial rocks. These ages ranged from 200 million to 4 billion years. (Isotopes are versions of elements that contain different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus.)
Tian and her colleagues used potassium, known by the chemical symbol K, as a tracer for more “volatile” elements and compounds, such as water, which transitions to the gas phase at relatively low temperatures. They found that Mars lost significantly more volatile matter during its formation than Earth, which is about nine times heavier than the Red Planet. However, Mars held more volatiles than the Earth’s moon and asteroids 329 miles (530 kilometers) wide. Vesta, Both are much smaller and drier than the Red Planet.
Co-author Catalina Rodders, a research professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of Washington, said, “For many years, the amount of volatile elements and their compounds in differentiated planets is much lower than in undifferentiated primitive meteorites. It was a question. ” statement. (“Differentiated” refers to a universe whose interior is separated into various layers such as the crust, mantle, and core.)
“The discovery of the correlation between K isotope composition and planetary gravity is a new discovery with important quantitative implications for when and how differentiated planets receive and lose volatiles,” says Rodders. I did.
NS New researchWas published online today (September 20) in the National Academy of Sciences journal Proceedings, but previous studies suggest that small size is a double pain for habitability. Bantam planets lose large amounts of water during formation, and their global magnetic fields also shut down relatively quickly, resulting in a thin atmosphere. (In contrast, the Earth’s magnetic field is still stronger, Equipped with a dynamo Deep inside our planet. )
According to team members, the new work could also have uses beyond our own space backyard.
“This study emphasizes that there is a very limited size range for having enough water, but not too much water, to develop a habitable surface environment for the planet,” said the University of Bern’s universe. Klaus Megger, co-author of the Center for Habitability, said Switzerland in the same statement. “These results will guide astronomers in finding habitable things. Exoplanet In other solar systems. “
That “surface environment” disclaimer is important in the habitability debate. Scientists, for example, believe that modern-day Mars still supports potentially life-supporting subterranean aquifers.And the moon like Jupiter Europe Saturn’s Enceladus hosts a huge, perhaps life-sustaining ocean beneath its ice-covered surface.
Mars was always too small to grab the ocean, rivers and lakes
https://www.space.com/mars-too-small-ocean-rivers-lakes Mars was always too small to grab the ocean, rivers and lakes