STATES CHRONICLE – Researchers have discovered evidence of the fact that in the past, Mars might have been warmed by methane outbursts. What is more, there is plenty of proof attesting the existence of water which flowed across the surface of the Red Planet about three to four billion years ago. However, other theories claim that back then back too cold to host liquid water.
A newly developed study shows that water may have existed during intermittent warm periods fueled by methane outbursts. The Martian atmosphere from a few billion years ago was more considerable compared to how it is today. Scientists at Harvard University thought that some unusual interactions between hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane present in the early atmosphere of Mars might have generated a greenhouse gas effect, triggering the formation of warm periods.
Robin Wordsworth, an assistant professor of environmental science and engineering at Harvard University, stated that early Mars was unique because it represents the only planetary environment where scientists believe that there existed at least periodic time spans where life could have existed.
He also noted that if men of science will manage to reveal more about the structure of early Mars, then they will be able to search for life forms on planets located outside our solar system. Nowadays, the atmosphere of Mars consists of 95% carbon dioxide. However, this gas is bound to account for the warm periods of ancient Mars.
Wordsworth together with his team of scientists imagined that geologic process which took place on Mars were once able of generating an extraordinary amount of methane gas. It is well-known that methane gas, a light gas, may be easily lost in cosmos by planets as the time passes by. Thus, Mars would have lesser methane today than it had in its early period, several billion years ago.
Scientists have thought of developing a method to make sure they understand the behavior of methane influxes and how could they influence the Red Planet’s atmosphere. Wordsworth pointed out that when they analyze alien atmosphere, they cannot compare it with the atmosphere of our planet. Firstly, they need to look at the collision between oxygen, carbon dioxide, and methane.
Apparently, the interaction of these gasses with photons resulted in extreme absorption of radiation. Their analysis was published in the Geophysical Researcher Letters magazine.
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