Mars Once Had Much Warmer and Wetter Environment

Mars Once Had Much Warmer and Wetter Environment

A team of experts from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said that they have found an answer to the lost carbon of the Red Planet.

The present Martian atmosphere is thin and delicate and mostly comprises of carbon dioxide. Scientists believe that Mars had a much denser atmosphere around 3.8 billion years ago.

They further said that a photochemical process might have made the atmosphere to disperse without letting the carbon to disappear completely from the planet.

The study lead author Renyu Hu in a press release said, “With this new mechanism, everything that we know about the Martian atmosphere can now be pieced together into a consistent picture of its evolution”.

As per researchers majorly there could be two mechanisms that could be behind the disappearance of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of the Red Planet.

The first theory says that excess of CO2 might have absorbed into the minerals in rocks known as carbonates, and the second theory explains how the CO2 disappeared into space.

Scientists examined the ratio of carbon-12 and carbon-13 isotopes present on Mars. It is known that isotopes are sensitive to changes in their environment which means that they can have hidden inside them some crucial information about the evolution of the Martian atmosphere.

They also compared the measurements with current measurements collected by NASA's Curiosity rover, and they found that the Martian atmosphere showed an unusual abundance of carbon-13.

Carbon-12 isotopes were more likely to disappear into space than the remaining carbon-13 isotopes, said researchers.

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