Science

NASA Teases New Discoveries On The Red Planet

By Paul Pajarillo , Nov 04, 2015 09:43 PM EST

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration publicized last month the presence of water in Mars' surface. Knowing this theory was a fact, scientists would now attempt to discover what took place for the bodies of water to vanish on the red planet as well as its atmosphere.

NASA's declaration of confirming the presence of vast bodies of water on the red planet was publicized last month. Although a lot of people has known this as a fact, scientists at the space administration are attempting to discover what took place in Mars for its vast oceans to vanish into thin air along with its thick atmosphere.

Compared to Earth, the red planet's atmosphere is about 100 times thinner. It is made up of 0.13% oxygen, 2.7% nitrogen and 95% carbon dioxide. Although Mars once boasted vast bodies of water in its surface, it would have had a thicker atmosphere able to withstand ambient pressures and temperatures, which would have kept its waters from evaporating and freezing points due to element exposures.

Researchers had a theory that the red planet's atmosphere vanished into thin air along with its vast water supply. For the researchers to trace where all the Martian population went, they would have to know what happened to its atmosphere and what event took place in its surface.

The space administration had their lips sealed tightly as to the details of the press conference regarding Mars. However, it was not a secret to the society that the researchers have been busy studying the red planet's atmosphere.

Scientific hypotheses suggest past carbon amounts had dominated the heavy atmosphere of Mars that could have been trapped in Martian rocks. This had been ruled out as latest discoveries suggest that there is nearly not enough carbon deposits that could have dissolved its atmosphere along with its waters. Another scientific guess was that its atmosphere might have been lost to space due to solar winds that could have taken place in the red planet such that its oxygen and hydrogen supplies vanished.

The Volatile EvolutioN Mission space probe launched by NASA in 2014 was an effort to study the red planet's atmosphere. It made its way to Mars after nearly a year's time span. Information gathered by the MAVEN Solar Wind Ion Analyzer discovered high-speed solar wind particles penetrating its atmosphere. Mars' ionosphere was made up of ions that were meant to shield the planet from solar winds the instrument detected solar particles that penetrated the atmosphere as deep as 124 miles.

Researchers made a theory that solar particles traveling at high speeds at Mars' atmosphere could have given the gasses enough energy a boost to break free to the planets gravitational pull and fly off into space that created atmospheric leaks. With the right conditions, it could explain why the atmosphere vanished along with the drop in water levels of the planet.

A conference set by NASA will be featuring the lead scientist for SWIA Jasper Halekas, who has worked with ion escape channel analysis on Mars. If research confirms that solar winds were a part of shaping the current state of Mars, it would give new light on the red planet's history that was once like Earth.

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