A new study suggested that Mars may not be qualified to host life on its surface, due to its small size, which does not qualify it to accommodate large quantities of water..
A new study was published last Monday in the journal,Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesDuring its formation, Mars lost more water and other volatiles than its larger neighbor Earth, while retaining more life-supporting molecules than smaller, drier bodies like the moon or the asteroid Vesta.
Study author Professor Kun Wang and colleagues studied the amount of potassium isotopes present in Martian meteorites, and used the element as a kind of tracer for more volatile molecules, including water..
They discovered that Mars lost more potassium and other volatiles than Earth at the time of its formation, while retaining more life-supporting molecules than smaller, drier bodies, such as the moon or the asteroid Vesta.“.
Kun Wang speculates that “the fate of Mars was determined from the beginning,” and he speculates that “there may be a limit to the size requirements of rocky planets to hold enough water to enable life and plate tectonics, with a mass exceeding that of Mars.“.
“There is no dispute that there is liquid water on the surface of Mars, but it is difficult to determine how much water was previously available on Mars only from remote sensing studies and rovers,” Wang added.“.
Wang suggests that “scientists searching for alien life in the future should use the size of the planet as a more important reference than previously thought.”“.
He explained, “The size of an exoplanet is one of the factors that is easy to determine, and based on the size and mass, we now know whether an exoplanet is a candidate for life or not, because size is the first-order determinant of volatile retention.“.
Last month, astronomers revealed that regional dust storms play an unexpectedly large role in losing water on Mars, warming the cold Martian atmosphere at high altitudes, and preventing water vapor from freezing..
As a result, water molecules reach the thin layers of the gaseous atmosphere, where they decompose into hydrogen and oxygen under the influence of ultraviolet radiation.
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