Mars, Science, Eva Scheller, Water

Mars, Science

Mars long ago was wet. You may be surprised where the water went

Mars long ago was wet. You may be surprised where the water went

17/3/2021 10:37:00 PM

Mars long ago was wet. You may be surprised where the water went

Mars was once a wet world, with abundant bodies of water on its surface. But this changed dramatically billions of years ago, leaving behind the ...

WorldA tall outcropping of rock, with layered deposits of sediments in the distance, marking a remnant of an ancient, long-vanished river delta in Jezero Crater, are pictured in this undated image taken by NASA's Mars rover Perseverance from its landing site, and supplied to Reuters on Mar 5, 2021. (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via REUTERS)

Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster grows as family members, household contacts of previous cases test positive Singapore calls for de-escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza Singapore Red Cross raises more than S$3.2 million in donations to help India fight COVID-19

18 Mar 2021 03:13AMShare this contentBookmarkWASHINGTON: Mars was once a wet world, with abundant bodies of water on its surface. But this changed dramatically billions of years ago, leaving behind the desolate landscape known today. So what happened to the water? Scientists have a new hypothesis.

Researchers said this week that somewhere between about 30 per cent and 99 per cent of it may now be trapped within minerals in the Martian crust, running counter to the long-held notion that it simply was lost into space by escaping through the upper atmosphere.

AdvertisementAdvertisement"We find the majority of Mars' water was lost to the crust. The water was lost by 3 billion years ago, meaning Mars has been the dry planet it is today for the past 3 billion years," said California Institute of Technology PhD candidate Eva Scheller, lead author of the NASA-funded study published on Tuesday in the journal Science.

Early in its history, Mars may have possessed liquid water on its surface approximately equivalent in volume to half of the Atlantic Ocean, enough to have covered the entire planet with water perhaps up to nearly 1.5km deep.Water is made up of one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. The amount of a hydrogen isotope, or variant, called deuterium present on Mars provided some clues about the water loss. Unlike most hydrogen atoms that have just a single proton within the atomic nucleus, deuterium - or"heavy" hydrogen - boasts a proton and a neutron.

Ordinary hydrogen can escape through the atmosphere into space more readily than deuterium. Water loss through the atmosphere, according to scientists, would leave behind a very large ratio of deuterium compared to ordinary hydrogen. The researchers used a model that simulated the hydrogen isotope composition and water volume of Mars.

AdvertisementAdvertisement"There are three key processes within this model: water input from volcanism, water loss to space and water loss to the crust. Through this model and matching it to our hydrogen isotope data set, we can calculate how much water was lost to space and to crust," Scheller said.

13 new community COVID-19 cases, including operating theatre technician at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital Man died rescuing dogs after PMD left charging caught fire; coroner rules death unfortunate misadventure Indonesia study finds China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine effective in medical staff

The researchers suggested that a lot of the water did not actually leave the planet, but rather ended up trapped in various minerals that contain water as part of their mineral structure - clays and sulfates in particular.This trapped water, while apparently plentiful when taken as a whole, may not provide a practical resource for future astronaut missions to Mars.

"The amount of water within a rock or mineral is very small. You would have to heat a lot of rock to release water in an appreciable amount," Scheller said. Read more: CNA »

1.8 million people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Health minister

A total of 1.2 million people have completed the full vaccination regimen, says Mr Gan Kim Yong.

No aliens or alien building structures? The bed? Wetting the bed?

Nasa's Mars helicopter's third flight goes farther, faster than before

Fourth flight postponed for Mars Ingenuity helicopterNASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter missed its fourth scheduled flight on Thursday (Apr 29), with the space agency blaming a software glitch and ...

Mars Ingenuity helicopter given new scouting missionAfter proving powered, controlled flight is possible on the Red Planet, NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter has new orders: scout ahead of the ...

NASA aims for historic helicopter flight on MarsNASA is hoping to make history early Monday when the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter attempts the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. LOL!

Nasa successfully flies small helicopter on MarsThe Ingenuity drone completes the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft on another world.

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planetNASA's Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet