Scientists believe that Mars was once a warm and wet planet, with flowing waters. At the moment, we are just seeing an uninhabitable, barren and frozen surface, but the evidence suggests that the has seen better days in the past.
How Did the Water on Mars Disappear?
Well, this is a question that has long been debated and unanswered. So far, the research that has been done suggested that due the collapse of Mars’ magnetic field, the water was lost to space. It might have been swept away by solar winds of high intensity, or it might be under the surface of its ice.
But these theories don’t explain where the water disappeared.
Is Mineralogy the Answer to this Question?
The Oxford University in the UK has applied modeling methods to see if rocks were behind the missing water. The water reaction with rocks, rock temperature and other factors could be an answer to this mystery.
The team of scientists has tested it and it looks like basalt rocks on Mars hold about 25% more water on Mars than on Earth, so the water that was once on the surface has been drawn inside the Martian planet.
The leader of this research is Jon Wade, a NERC Research Fellow at the Department of Earth Sciences (Oxford), who explains the results of their tests.
He said that ‘On Mars, water reacting with the freshly erupted lavas’ that form its basaltic crust, resulted in a sponge-like effect’. It seems that the water reacted to ‘the rock mineralogy and caused the planetary surface to dry and become inhospitable to life’, Jon Wade added.
A long asked question like this has never made scientists to test this theory proposed by the scientists from Oxford. What Jon Wade explains is that such a debated question might be explained through a simple rock reaction.