Ancient Mars not warm enough for liquid water: Study
New York: Evidence suggest that Mars was wet, but it was probably not consistently warm enough for making the water flow, a thrilling study reveals.
Signs of flowing water on Mars include layered sediments presumed to have been laid down in ancient lakes, as well as rugged canyons and lowlands apparently sculpted by massive floods.
These prompted researchers to suggest that the red planet, now frigid and dry, was warm and wet throughout its early history.
But that would have required an atmosphere much thicker than today’s, a prospect that now seems unlikely, said Edwin Kite, a planetary scientist at Princeton University in the US.
The evidence against the idea that ancient Mars held a thick atmosphere for more than a few millennia at a time lies in the sizes of the planet’s craters, said the researchers.
If Mars had once possessed a denser atmosphere, they said, small objects would have broken up as they passed through it, as they do in Earth’s atmosphere, rather than surviving largely intact to blast craters.
The researchers used images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to catalogue more than 300 craters pockmarking an 84,000-square-kilometre area near the planet’s equator.
“It’s not the size of the smallest craters, but the size distribution of the entire population that’s important,” Kite said.
“The thickness of the atmosphere was less than one-third what some teams say would be needed to consistently keep Mars’ surface above freezing," said Sanjoy Som, an astrobiologist with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science in the US.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Geoscience
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Will Akhilesh-Rahul alliance be able to trump BJP in UP elections?
- Arms case: Salman Khan acquitted by Jodhpur court
- Raisina Dialogue 2017: Pakistan must walk away from terror, says PM Modi
- J&K: LeT militant gunned down by security forces in Bandipora
- Etah: School bus collides with truck, several children killed
- World's 30 most dynamic cities: Check out the full list
- China State TV said that its troops can reach New Delhi in 48 hours in war scenario; Indians slay it with their replies
- WATCH: Kieron Pollard's incredible one-handed six demoralises Fawad Ahmed
- IND vs ENG, 2nd ODI: Yuvraj Singh silences critics with 14th ODI hundred, fourth against England — WATCH
- Bengaluru pips Silicon Valley to become world's most dynamic city