Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

'Curiosity' exposes low CO2 level in Mars' primitive atmosphere

RATE THIS! +23
Posted in Science on 12th Feb, 2017 12:53 PM by Alex Muller

The CO2 level in Mars' primitive atmosphere was too low for sediments, such as those found by NASA's Curiosity exploration vehicle in areas like the Gale Crater on the planet's equator, to be deposited. This and other conclusions are drawn from a paper written with the participation of researchers from the Spanish National Research Council.

 
The area Curiosity has been analysing since 2012, as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, is composed primarily of sedimentary sequences deposited at the bottom of a lake 3.5 billion years ago. These sediments contain various secondary minerals, such as clays or sulphates, which indicate that the primitive surface was in contact with liquid water.
 
The existence of liquid water requires a warm surface temperature brought about by a minimum content of CO2 in the atmosphere. Yet this was not the case with Mars in its beginnings. "This contradiction has two possible solutions. Either we have not yet developed climatic models which explain the environmental conditions on Mars at the beginning of its history, or the Gale sedimentary sequences really did form in a very cold climate," explains CSIC researcher Alberto Fairén, who works at the Centre for Astrobiology near Madrid (a joint centre run by CSIC and Spain's National Institute of Aerospace Technology).
 
"However, the rover has not found carbonates, thereby confirming the results of studies by all previous probes: carbonates are very scarce on the surface of Mars and, therefore, the CO2 level in the atmosphere was very low," adds. Fairén.
 
Specifically, the direct analysis of samples on the surface of Mars carried out by these researchers shows that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere at the time the Gale Crater sediments were deposited was between 10 and 100 times less than the minimum required for the surface temperature to be above the freezing point of the liquid water.
 
On Earth, carbonate deposits form on lake and sea beds when CO2 in the atmosphere interacts with liquid water. Carbon dioxide is a gas capable of generating a powerful 'greenhouse effect' and, therefore, of heating the planet.
 
According to the scientists, an image that maybe would describe Gale in the early days of Mars would be that of a glacial lake, surrounded by huge masses of ice, which would be partially or seasonally frozen. "The environment would have been similar to the Canadian Arctic or to Greenland today," says the CSIC researcher.
 
In addition, although ice would have dominated, it would also have been common to find liquid water present in abundance. The formation of clays and sulphates would have occurred at specific places and times, seasonally, or under an ice cap in liquid water lakes.

Tags: MarsCO2spaceplanetNASACuriosity

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Medicine on 2017-11-21 09:01:15
    High Incidence of PTSD Among Cancer Patients..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-11-21 08:56:02
    Human Memory Enhanced With a Brain Implant For the First.....read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2017-11-21 08:51:13
    MIT Reveals a Battery That Stores Solar Energy to Make.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-11-21 08:45:29
    Japan discovers new 50km cave in moon, raises hope for.....read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-11-20 17:24:02
    The 3 biggest threats to your Bitcoin (and 10 tips to.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Martian landscapes formed from sand 'levitating' on a little.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists detect comets outside our solar system..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Advanced artificial limbs mapped in the brain..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Bacteria have a sense of touch..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Recurrent brain cancer: New hope with phase 1 clinical trial.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me