Liquid water existing on Mars doesn’t represent anything new, as the Red Planet was once flooded with the odorless and colorless substance. But astronomers haven’t been too good at explaining where all that water came from. Even the huge amount of liquid water present on Earth is difficult to track down.
According to Inverse.com, geophysicist Edwin Kite from the University of Chicago brings a new theory to explain how the presence of liquid water was once possible on a very cold planet Mars.
Carbon dioxide and sunlight played a major role
Kite believes that carbon dioxide, along with the sunlight, had been warming Mars enough to allow the water to exist.
To look into the history of the Red Planet, Kite and his team used data gathered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The scientists now propose that clouds warmed our neighboring planet enough for sustaining liquid water on the surface.
A significant amount of “hidden water” was found recently in the Valles Marineris canyon system of Mars. The discovery was possible thanks to the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), and astronomers from both Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) are operating it.
Igor Mitrofanov is the lead author of the study about the discovery of the “hidden water” from Mars, and he said in an ESA statement:
With TGO we can look down to one meter below this dusty layer and see what’s really going on below Mars’ surface — and, crucially, locate water-rich ‘oases’ that couldn’t be detected with previous instruments.
Why discovering water on Mars is important? Simple: where there is liquid water, there could also be life. Judging by how we all know life exists on Earth, no organism would be able to survive without water in its liquid state.