(ORDO NEWS) — Planetary scientist Erdal Yiğit from George Mason University, USA, presented a new paper in which he points out that the interactions of the upper atmosphere of Mars with the solar wind cannot fully explain the loss of water from the surface of the Red Planet.
To form a complete picture of the process, the scientist suggests including three other important factors in consideration: gravitational waves in the atmosphere, convection and sandstorms.
Planetary scientists generally agree that there used to be a lot of water on the surface of Mars, and they also agree that this water has been lost into space from the surface in the form of hydrogen over billions of years.
Previous studies have shown that water molecules were dissociated by sunlight in the lower atmosphere of Mars, as a result of which hydrogen, previously a part of water molecules, left the planet’s atmosphere and escaped into space. In his new work, Higuit notes that today there is too little evidence of this direct mechanism at the disposal of scientists, so it raises doubts.
The scientist believes that other factors could play a significant role as well, pointing out that recent experiments showed that water in the Martian atmosphere could be transported directly into the upper atmosphere, where it was dissociated by sunlight, and only then did the hydrogen escape into space.
These new data also show that processes must have taken place in the lower atmosphere as a result of which water rose into the upper atmosphere. Higuat believes that there was a combined effect of several factors, the main of which are: convection currents at low altitudes, gravity waves in the atmosphere and dust storms. For example, the last of these factors is supported by the fact that at present the Martian orbital probes continue to record the loss of water by the planet into space,
The research is published in the journal Science.
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