Ancient oceans on Mars were formed by water brought to the planet by meteorites

(ORDO NEWS) — A team of researchers led by astronomers at the University of Copenhagen has found evidence that much of the water that made up the ancient global ocean on Mars was brought to the planet by carbon-rich chondrite meteorites from distant regions of the solar system.

A team of researchers from the Center for Star and Planet Formation at the University of Copenhagen, working with colleagues from the University of Paris, ETH Z├╝rich and the University of Bern, have found evidence that much of the water that made up the ancient global ocean on Mars originated from carbon-rich chondrite meteorites from distant regions of the Sun. systems.

Previous research suggests that Mars was once covered by a water ocean. Presumably, water came in the form of steam and gases seeping from below the surface and liquefying when cooled.

In the new work, the researchers showed that the water most likely came from another source – it was brought by meteorites that arrived from the outer solar system.

The researchers came to this conclusion after studying meteorites that were knocked out of the surface of Mars after asteroid impacts. Many such Martian meteorites have fallen to Earth. The researchers studied 31 such meteorite.

Scientists were looking for isotopes of chromium. Chromium-54 does not occur naturally in Martian soils. So its presence in meteorites from Mars indicates that these isotopes fell on the planet from space.

The researchers collected enough material to estimate how many meteorites and asteroids crashed into Mars. And this, as astronomers say, made it possible to estimate how much water was brought to the planet.

Oceans that fell from space

Ancient oceans on Mars were formed by water brought to the planet by meteorites 2
The meteorite NWA 7533 is a fragment of the ancient crust of the planet. Martin Bizzarro

The carbon-rich chondrite meteorites are 10% water. This made it possible to calculate how much water was delivered to Mars: it would be enough to cover the entire surface of the planet to a depth of 300 meters.

This study showed that water-rich meteorites were the main source of water that filled the oceans of Mars.

But it also allows us to conclude that most of the water on other bodies in the solar system “flown in” from the outer solar system. Probably, the oceans on Earth also “fell” from space.

Online:

Contact us: [email protected]

Our Standards, Terms of Use: Standard Terms And Conditions.