Water is the essential element for life on Earth and other planets like it. Emphasis has also been placed on the search for liquid water to look for signs of life on Mars. Scientists have found so far that the history of Mars was full of liquid water. But today there is no liquid water on the surface. A new study has found the reason for the absence of liquid water on Mars. It has been found that the size of Mars was not large enough to hold a large amount of liquid water.
In this research from Washington University in St. Louis, the researchers combined remote sensing studies and analyzed Martian meteorites found in the 1980s. This showed that at one time, there was more liquid water on Mars than on Earth. Apart from this, recent photographs of the terrain there from NASA’s Viking orbiter vehicle, Curiosity and Perseverance rover show clear traces of river valleys and flood canals.
Many explanations given
Despite all this evidence, there is no liquid water anywhere on the surface of Mars today. Researchers have proposed possible explanations for this, including weakening Mars’ magnetic field that lost its thick atmosphere. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests another root cause that made Mars very different from Earth.
Condition for abundant water
Kun Wang, the senior author of this study and assistant professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Department of Art and Science at Washington University, says that the fate of Mars was decided early. Rocky planets need enough water to maintain habitability and plate tectonics. The possibility is that rocky planets require a minimum limit in size for this, which is more than Mars.
Role of potassium
For this study, Wang and his colleagues used stable isotopes of the element potassium on different planets to estimate volatile matter’s presence, distribution, and abundance. Scientists used potassium as a tracer to detect water and other flammable substances. In earlier research, scientists obtained information about volatile substances on Mars by getting the ratio of potassium-thorium through remote sensing and chemical analysis.
Less than Earth more than the moon
Wang and his team measured more than 20 compositions of potassium isotopes in meteorites from Mars. They found that Mars lost more potassium and other volatile substances during its formation than Earth. Yet this amount was found in the Moon and the Moon. 4- Vesta was more than the Shudragraha.
The researchers found a definite relationship between the body’s size and the potassium isotopic composition. Co-author of this study and Katharina Loaders of the University of Washington says that finding less volatile elements and compounds in all the different planets than in meteorites was a long-standing puzzle. But the discovery of the relationship between the planet’s gravity and potassium isotope composition is an entirely new one.
This discovery has revealed how and when different planets found and lost volatile matter and their effect on their quantity. The meteorites of Mars were the only samples available to researchers to study their chemical composition. These are from a few million years to 4 billion years old and have a recorded history of the evolution of Mars’ volatiles. This study will now help in ensuring habitable aliens.