Mars the Golden Planet

Mars
Mars
Courtesy of Kevin Gill (Flickr CC0)

Previous Life in Mars?

There’s a recent study by the University of Arizona and French universities. They say that this planet could have been home to living organisms, unfortunately the planet self-destructed with its self-produced climate change. Researchers, scientists, and even business titans and the elite, have been looking into the possibility of life on Mars. One of the two leading authors on the paper, Regis Ferrière, claims that the early Mars was likely sufficiently rich in carbon dioxide and hydrogen to have produced a climate where water could flow and microbial life could flourish. The study demonstrates that early Mars would have most likely been habitable to methanogenic microbes, or microorganisms that convert carbon dioxide to methane, even if there was no life on the planet at the time.

Climate Change on the Red Planet

On Earth, these bacteria can be found in hostile environments like hydrothermal vents that run across fractures in the ocean floor. Ferrière adds that due to the high concentrations of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, two potent greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, young Mars would have had a climate that was warmer and wetter than its current one, which is frigid and dry. The researcher claims that while Mars may have been slightly colder than Earth at the time, it was not quite as cold as it is now, with typical temperatures likely staying over the freezing point of water. While the current Mars has been compared as an ice cube coated in dust, we envision the early Mars as a solid planet with a porous crust that was submerged in liquid water that most likely created lakes, rivers, and even even seas or oceans.

Mars is currently dry, incredibly cold, and has a weak atmosphere. Therefore, it is quite unlikely that anything living could exist on the surface.

Mars is what?

Mars
Courtesy of Kevin Gill (Flickr CC0)

Mars’ thick core has a radius of 1,500–2,100 kilometers, or 930–1,300 miles (1,500–2,100 kilometers). It is comprised of sulfur, nickel, and iron. A rocky mantle that is between 770 and 1,170 miles (1,240 and 1,880 kilometers) thick surrounds the core, and on top of it is a crust composed of iron, magnesium, aluminum, calcium, and potassium. The depth of this crust ranges from 6 to 30 miles (10 to 50 kilometers).

The Red Planet truly has a variety of hues. On the surface, we may see hues like tan, gold, and brown. The oxidation, or rusting, of iron in the rocks, regolith (Martian “soil”), and dust of Mars is the cause of the planet’s reddish appearance.

Although there is water on Mars today, the atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to stay on the surface for very long. Currently, water on Mars can be found as brackish (salty) water that periodically rushes down some hillsides and crater walls, as well as water-ice that is just below the surface in the polar regions.

Fun facts about this Planet:

  • The Roman god of war inspired the name of Mars
  • Deimos and Phobos are the names of the reds planet two moons. Their names refer to the two horses that pull the chariot of Mars, the Roman god of war. They might be asteroids that Mars’ gravity has trapped
  • The fourth planet from the sun is Mars. It is 141 million miles (227,936,637 km) from the sun. From Earth, it would take 300 days, or about 8 months, to get there
  • The Reds planet 4217-mile diameter makes it smaller than Earth. It is the second-smallest planet in our solar system as a result
  • On this planet, a day lasts for 24 hours, 37 minutes
  • On Mars, a year lasts 687 days. 1.9 Earth years

Written by Adriana Castelan

Sources:

Designboom: Ancient mars could have been livable until it triggered its own climate change

Nasa: Mars The Red Planet

National Geographic: Planet Mars, Explained

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Kevin Gill Flick Page- Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of Kevin Gill Flickr Page- Creative Commons License

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