Mars was a warm, wet planet billion of years ago. But its atmosphere slowly dropped down and squeezed into space. It left behind the thin atmosphere and frozen desert planet we see today.
Researchers look at the surface layer of Mars. It too has a crust, mantle, core, and an outer atmosphere.
How Mars had water in the first place?
Martian meteors contain samples of the planet’s crust. The largest reservoir is estimated to be on Mars’ crust. Because it contains 35% of the total estimated water beneath the surface of the planet.
The 2 well-known meteors are ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Allan Hills’. Researchers studied thin slices of them to look into the planets’ past. How the planet formed and when water entered into the equation. Their study published, in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The Black Beauty meteor is estimated to be two million years old, formed and broke off of the planet when a massive impact hit Mars and laminated pieces of Martian crust together. This effectively also captured material from different points in the Martian timeline.
Observing the two meteorites, researchers conducted a chemical analysis finding out two types of hydrogen isotopes. Isotopes are atoms that form chemical elements.
They are specifically looking for “light hydrogen” and “heavy hydrogen,”. The meteorites, combined with other previous data about Mars, including observations by the Curiosity rover, revealed three things. In the Martian meteorites, the crust remained much the same over time.
The isotopes suggested the atmospheric changes they knew happened over time on Mars. And the crust samples were wildly different from the mantle below it.
This goes on to show the existence of possible life on Mars. Maybe in the near future, humans too can go and colonize Mars as an inhabitant. The Red planet is for now under observation.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.