Life, as we understand it in the world, requires some basic elements. Water is one of them. And for years, NASA inherited a robotic mission to “track the water” on Mars to learn more about the planet’s history, including if it ever resonated.
While many scientists believe that Mars was warm and humid for billions of years before it became the arid desert it is today, others point to the weakness of the sun.
Four billion years ago, our sun dropped by about 30%. It got warmer and brighter over time. If so, ancient Mars may be too cold and too dry for water or life on Earth.
Today, Mars receives only about 43% of the Earth’s intense sunlight from the Sun. This means that temperatures on ancient Mars may have a hard time raising the melting point of the ice.
But the geological features of Mars show evidence of moist minerals and ancient riverbanks and lakes. This evidence points to the fact that Mars had abundant liquid water during the Noachian period, or between 3.7 and 4.1 billion years ago.
The contradiction between climate modeling and the geological record of Mars is a mild sunlight paradox.
The rocky planets in our solar system — Earth, planets, meridians, and Mars — contain elements that generate heat through radiation. These elements include uranium, potassium and thorium.
This type of heating will be sufficient to lower the ice surface to create liquid water, even in low sunlight. On Earth, this type of heat, called geothermal heat, can be seen among the submarine lakes that form part of the western Antarctic ice sheet, the Canadian Arctic and Greenland.
The phenomenon of geothermal heat also described the cold water on Mars that was cold – 4 billion years ago.
Understand ancient Mars
Researchers have used a variety of data sets to test their theories about geothermal heat on Mars billions of years ago. This data includes glaciers in the southern Martian highlands and estimates of the planet’s annual surface temperature and heat flow from the interior to the surface 4 billion years ago.
Through modeling, scientists have found that areas of melting ice in the walls will enrich groundwater.
Lujendra Ojha, an assistant professor of education, said: “Although greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapor were driven into the Martian atmosphere during the early days of computing, climate models are still struggling to keep warm and wet Mars in the long run.” The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Rutgers-New Brunswick said in a statement. “I and my co-authors have always suggested that the weakness of the faint sun could be remedied, in part, if Mars had had a high thermal past in the past.”
Although they do not know what will cause Mars to become immobile, even though it used to swap warm and humid climates, when the red planet loses its magnetic field, its atmosphere goes away and the Earth warms.
This means that in order for a liquid to be stable on Mars, it must be below the surface.
“Regardless of the actual climate of the ancient ocean, the atmosphere will be the most inhabited area on Mars,” the authors wrote in the study.
As the water sinks deeper into Mars, researchers suggest that life of any age may follow it underground.
“At such depths, life can be summed up by the thermal and thermal activity of rocks,” Ojha said, “so a small space may represent the longest-lived environment on Mars.”
This may be the case in the beginning of the world as well.
“Most of the world’s microbial biomass is in its own stable, where water is readily available,” the authors wrote in the study. “Biological diversity exists throughout the vast expanses of habitats and the living environment, which can be as deep (up to 5 km).
Currently, NASA Mars InSight spacecraft is investigating the interior of Mars after landing in 2018. (InSight is short for internal exploration using Seismic, Geodesy and heat transport probe,) the researchers said.
And any evidence of past life that may have occurred on Mars, like biologists, may be buried below where they are protected from radiation.