What the lead scientist of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Told Me + Mars Scientist in India + Evidences that Mars has Water

Recently I got the chance of interacting with Dr. Michael Meyer at the Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi. He is the head scientist of the Mars Exploration Program and an astro-biologist (who studies biology related to space) and he told us many facts about Mars which you cannot find on Google.

First of all I would like to answer the question which is Why is Water so much connected with Mars?

So basically, water is what started life on Earth. The first organisms on Earth (bacteria) originated in water and thats why if there is water in liquid form on Mars life can be made possible on Mars.

So what did Dr.Michael tell me?

Broadly he told me that:

  1. Water was there on Mars and then proved it through various evidences.
  2. How did Mars’s atmosphere vanish?
  3. About the various mission going to Mars in future and many which have went before and told us about the results they gave us.

How do we know Water was present on Mars?

Curiosity gave us information that water once existed on Mars. Sulphur, clay and carbonates were found on Mars. All three of these substances cannot exist without the presence of water so this definitely proves that water was once up there. stability_of_perchlorateslowres.png

This picture gives us quite a nice explanation as to why there is water only in solid (ice) form on Mars. (Highest temperature on Mars is about 20°C). So this picture tells us that water can only exist in liquid form from 0 to 10 degree celsius but if we apply perchlorate-brine to it water can exist in liquid (drinking) form from -70 to 24 degree celsius, which is quite feasible on Mars.

Mars_NPArea-PIA00161-1.jpg

These are the ice caps on Mars.

How did Mars’s atmosphere vanish?

The atmosphere of Mars is less than 1% of Earth’s, so it does not protect the planet from the Sun’s radiation nor does it do much to retain heat at the surface. It consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and the remainder is trace amounts of oxygen, water vapour, and other gases

Mars’s atmosphere was held together by the magnetic force in Mars. But due do solar storms the power of the magnetic force decreased which led to the disintegration of Mars’s atmosphere.

DSC70

This image gives us a fair idea of the atmospheric erosion

Mars Missions

NASA is expected to send another rover with many more technologies than the present Curiosity rover in 2020. They are also sending another ExoMars Orbiter this year and another rover in 2018.

So what all did Curiosity tell us?

  • That there are seasonal changes on Mars.
  • Another water evidence – Curiosity also found that there were streambeds on Mars.
  • It also bored holes into the Martian soil and we got to know that elements like Iron are down there and are not oxidised (rusted)

Comment below if you have any questions.

 

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