Scientists Discover Water Disappearing At Unusual Rates From Mars' Surface

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In the paper which was published in the journal 'Science', researchers wrote Mars is losing its water quicker than they estimated owing to its harsh weather.

Written By Riya Baibhawi | Mumbai | Updated On:

Scientists have discovered that Mars is losing its water faster than they expected. In the paper which was published in the journal Science, researchers wrote that the current situation is not in line with their past predictions. Researchers also wrote the red planet's atmosphere contains up to 100 times more water vapour than its temperature should theoretically allow. 

Data from the ExoMars Mission

Scientists believe that the reason for the swift process of evaporation is the harsh sunlight which breaks the water into its basic components. As the water breaks down, individual atoms of hydrogen and oxygen are free to vent out into space and charged with energy from the Sun, the atoms break free of Mars’ weak gravity and paper-thin atmosphere. 

The new discovery was made using the Trace Gas orbiter probe that was sent to the red planet onboard ExoMars mission which is run jointly by the European space agency and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos.

The scientists also discovered that instead of staying on the Martian surface, the water is being carried up in quantities larger than the projected proportions to an altitude of more than 80 km, hanging in the planet’s atmosphere. Researchers, in the analysis they made using data compiled by the ExoMars Mission also found that during the planet’s summer and stormy seasons, water is able to escape much more.

Previous studies have also shown that the red planet was once flooded with flowing water but currently it is mostly dry with a little water existing in its frozen form in the ice caps.  

Read: NASA's Mars Mission Journey Begins In California 'clean Room'

Read: NASA Study Shows Ice Deposits On Mars Can Be Used As Drinking Water

On the other hand, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is planning to launch a big mission to send humans on Mars and the stepping stone for it is going to be the Moon mission scheduled for 2024. The main objective for NASA is to find water on Mars that will help in both drinking and recreation of rocket fuel. NASA has recently released a research paper that highlights the treasure map for ice deposits on Mars. 

Read: Mars 2020 Rover To Seek Ancient Life, Prepare Human Missions

Read: ISRO Sets Up An Academic Centre For Space At NIT Karnataka

By 2030, 40% Indians will not have access to drinking water