Red Planet's water loss: Weak gravity of Mars can not prevent from escaping

Katie Ramirez
January 11, 2020

Paradigm shifting research has found that water on Mars is escaping much faster than existing models and observations predict, upending our current understanding of the Red Planet and casting doubt on future colonization plans. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun breaks separated water in Mars' upper air to form hydrogen and oxygen, and a lot of this hydrogen skims off into space, given its phenomenally light nature and Mars' mediocre gravity (which is only 40% as solid as Earth's).

Researchers say the atmosphere contains 100 times more water vapor than theoretical estimates.

Mars is losing what little water it has to space during intense periods of stormy and hot weather.

Now, the speed of this process has fastened, and it indicates that the planet could lose more water than previously thought.

According to the CNRS study, Mars' atmosphere is incredibly rich in water vapour that has risen from the surface. With the observed supersaturation rates, the limit of water to escape would significantly increase during specific seasons.

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Scientists announced that the water on the surface of Mars began to disappear.

The oversaturation of water in the atmosphere allowed water to reach the upper atmosphere, something which scientists previously thought was impossible.

Dr Montmessin said: "Mars once harboured an active hydrological cycle, as demonstrated by geological features on its surface, but it no longer holds the quantity of water required to produce such geological imprints".

These results were were obtained thanks to the Trace Gas Orbiter probe from the ExoMars mission, financed by the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Nowadays, Mars is largely dry and the water on the planet has become largely frozen glacial layers.

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