Scientists Say Mars is Losing Water Faster Than Previously Estimated

Pablo Tucker
January 11, 2020

In the new study, an worldwide research team, led partly by Franck Montmessin from French National Centre for Scientific Research in France, revealed that water vapour is accumulating in large quantities and unexpected proportions at an altitude of over 80 km in the Martian atmosphere.

Scientists announced that the water on the surface of Mars began to disappear. They also state that this situation does not correspond to past observations and forecasts.

As the Mars water breaks down, individual atoms of hydrogen and oxygen are free to vent out into space. The gaseous hydrogen, which is not almost as bound to gravity as on Earth (Mars has a 60% weaker gravity), freely travels right off into space. This is opposed to our current understanding of Mars since the disappearance is happening faster than it was previously thought.

Water may escape Mars quicker than expected, possibly clarifying how the Red Planet lost its oceans, lakes, and streams, another research reveals.

The startling discovery was published in the journal Science.

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

The data was obtained using the Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft sent to the Red Planet by the European Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency as ExoMars. This means that the red planet might lose more water than previously estimated.

The loss of water from Mars to space is thought to result from the transport of water to the upper atmosphere, where it is dissociated to hydrogen and escapes the planet.

However, boffins have now found pockets in the atmosphere containing 10 to 100 times more water vapor than should theoretically be possible given the temperature, in a phenomenon known as "supersaturation." .

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