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The lack of water on Mars amazes scientists

The lack of water on Mars amazes scientists

There is little water in layers up to 300 meters deep near the InSight landing site. Not only is ice missing, but even water-containing minerals are missing.

Planetary scientists at the University of California, San Diego, say the new analysis of the information sent back by the Insight spacecraft “was a surprise.” The first is that in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe probe, in layers up to 300 meters deep, there is practically no ice. Meanwhile, scientists were expecting large amounts of it.

“We learn that the crust of Mars is fragile and porous. Deposits are not well established. At present, however, there is not much ice “- says the professor. Vashan Wright, one of the authors of the study that appeared in the Geophysical Research Letter. – “These results do not rule out the presence of grains or small lumps of ice that do not stick different minerals together. But the question is how likely it is that this type of ice exists.”

The second surprise concerns what could have happened to the waters of Mars. Mars could have had oceans in the distant past, and according to many experts, water was supposed to become part of the minerals that formed the bond of plutonic rocks.

“If water comes into contact with rocks, new minerals are formed, such as clay, so the water is no longer liquid. It becomes part of the mineral structure. There is little of this connection in the study area, but not much ”- notes one of the authors of the publication, Professor. Michael Manga.

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“Water can also penetrate minerals that do not act as this type of binder. This subsurface layer without binders lacks one way to preserve traces of life” – explains Professor K. I have seen.

The adhesive formed in the presence of water protects the local metal from corrosion.

“As scientists, we are now faced with the best high-quality data taken from the most accurate observations. Our models predicted the presence of permafrost and underground aquifers at this latitude, “- confirms the professor. Mango.

The InSight probe landed in 2018 on Elysium Planitia, a smooth plain near the Martian equator.

On its board there is, among other things, a seismometer that measures vibrations caused by Martian earthquakes and meteor showers. Based on these measurements, specialists can extract huge amounts of information about the planet’s surface, including its shapes and temperature.

The data indicate the presence of sedimentary rocks and pyroclastic flows.

Although results about structures hidden beneath the surface may be inaccurate, seismic waves can also tell us a lot about the minerals that are there.

The new results emerged from the work of a complex computer simulation program to analyze seismic data.

“Each of our models has been launched 10 thousand. times to show potential uncertainties “confirms one of the researchers Richard Kilburn.

The study of the layers under the planet’s surface is important, among other things, because if there is life on Mars, traces of it can be found in this area where it was protected, for example, from radiation.

After the planned arrival of the Martian surface sample to Earth, over the next decade, NASA may be on the Mars Life Explorer mission where the probe will drill two meters deep at a high latitude – where ice, rock and the atmosphere meet.

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A Mars ice mapping mission is also being considered, in which scientific goals for a possible trip of people to the Red Planet are analyzed.

“Throughout my adolescence, I heard that the Earth could become uninhabitable on it. I am now at the age when I can help understand similar processes that have occurred on another planet,” says Jardel Dassent, one of the researchers.

more information over here And the over here. (PAP)

Marek Matakz

mat / beech /

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