Mars: The Most Incredible Discoveries On Mars
Discoveries On Mars
The Most Incredible Discoveries On Mars in 2021
NASA’s Perseverance and Curiocity rovers , as well as the Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft, made some amazing discoveries in 2021. Remnants of lava flows from the active volcanic eruptions that rocked Mars in its youth, evidence of water in the form of ancient lakes, and powerful dust storms that likely deprived the planet of life have been found. All these finds complete a significant and sometimes even strange year of scientific exploration of the Red Planet.
NASA said the Perseverance rover found crystals in rocks in the South Seita Range near Lake Jezero Crater . The analysis showed that the rock was formed when the crystals grew and settled in the slowly cooling magma.
“The stones have come into contact with water several times in the past, making them a treasure trove for dating events in Lake Jezero. These deposits will help better reveal the early history of the planet when it was covered in water, ” explains Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology.
In addition, images taken by the rover this year have allowed scientists to determine that Jezero Crater is actually the bottom of an ancient lake. Billions of years ago, this place was filled with water by a full-flowing river – even its dried-up delta was discovered.
Volcanic activity has also been a subject of Mars exploration. A team of NASA scientists have discovered that thousands of volcanic super-eruptions rocked the Red Planet 4 billion years ago . These eruptions, described by NASA as “incredibly powerful,” ejected water vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide high into the planet’s atmosphere. This likely influenced the evolution of the climate and atmosphere of Mars
“Each of these eruptions had a significant impact on the climate. Perhaps the released gas made the atmosphere denser, blocked the Sun and cooled Mars, ” said NASA geologist Patrick Valley.
The discovery was made when a team of scientists saw giant holes on the Red Planet, called calderas, stretching for tens of kilometers. They are formed during the collapse of a volcano after a super-eruption.Water on Mars
ESA reported that the Trace Gas Orbiter detected significant volumes of water in the heart of the Martian canyon system of the Mariner Valley. Scientists have long known that water has not completely disappeared from Mars. Most often it is found in the polar regions in the form of ice. This water, found close to the surface of Mars, makes up 40% of the near-surface material in the area surveyed by TGO, which is roughly the size of the Netherlands. But even the discovery of this ” oasis ” is unlikely to change the idea of Mars as a barren and arid world.
At present, scientists cannot accurately answer how Mars lost most of its water. But in August 2021, a paper published in Nature suggested that seasonal dust storms may have played a role in the process. The authors of the study found that dust storms that occur every summer on Mars prevent water from turning into ice. Its molecules under the intense radiation of the Sun break up into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. Since hydrogen is the lightest element in the universe, because of this, it easily escapes into space from the upper atmosphere of the planet and does not have time to bind with oxygen to form water droplets back.
Life On The Red Planet?
One discovery, made in 2021, is circumstantial evidence that life once existed, or even still exists, on the surface of the Red Planet. Of course, scientists cannot yet say for sure about this, because more research is needed. But the discovery of many signs of the presence of liquid water on Mars in the past gives hope that such a discovery may soon happen. Moreover, the main mission of the Perseverance rover is to detect signs of ancient life.
Recall that earlier scientists suggested that the ancient brine forever erased evidence of life on Mars .
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