A multitude of natural factors altered environment of Mars to make it inhabitable

April 19th, 2009 - 2:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 19 (ANI): A special collection of research papers has documented that solar energy and winds, collisions with asteroids and comets, and changing magnetic fields have all altered the environment of Mars, a planet that may have been able to support life during its history.

Compiled by Helmut Lammer, Senior Editor of Astrobiology, from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, this special paper collection features a report that presents a semi-analytical model to evaluate the influence of impacts on the evolution of the carbon dioxide-based Martian atmosphere.

The results of this study indicate that impacts alone cannot satisfactorily explain the loss of significant atmospheric mass since the Late Noachian, 3.7 - 4 Ga (Gigaannum - 1,000,000,000 years.)

In other words, if the Martian atmosphere was much denser at about 4 Ga than at present, impact erosion was most likely not responsible for the removal of the atmosphere at that time.

A 3-D model presented by scientists to assess the effects of exposure to solar energy and winds on ion escape on early Mars 4.5 Ga, demonstrated how ion erosion could have led to the loss of water that might have been present on Mars.

Also, two reports explored the existence and survival of two types of bacteria under Martian surface and environmental conditions, and the types of habitats that might have existed to support these life forms.

According to Dr. Lammer, these reports indicate that Mars should have lost its denser initial CO2 atmosphere very early, and may have been cold and dry during most of its history. (ANI)

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