Researchers believe that Mars could never be home to extraterrestrial life because the planet is too small to hold large amounts of water.
The presence of water is important for the development of life, and the search for evidence of liquid has prompted investigations and studies of the Red Planet to confirm that humanity is not alone in the universe.
However, our closest planetary neighbor has shown no liquid water on its surface, and scientists may now know why. “The fate of Mars was decided from the beginning,” said kun vangoAssistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
“With a mass greater than that of Mars, there is likely to be a limit on the size requirements of rocky planets to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics.”
Professor Wang and his colleagues used stable isotopes of potassium to estimate the presence and distribution of volatile elements and compounds – such as water – on the planet, by measuring its composition in 20 confirmed Martian meteorites.
They found that Mars lost more potassium and other volatiles than Earth at the time of its formation – but it contained more than the Moon and another asteroid called 4-Vesta, which are both smaller and drier than Mars.
“It is undeniable that there used to be liquid water on the surface of Mars, but how much water there once was in total Mars is hard to determine through remote sensing and rover studies alone,” Professor Wang said.
“There are many models out there for the bulk water content of Mars. In some of them, early Mars was even wetter than Earth. We don’t believe that was the case.”
Being too close to the Sun can have a significant effect on the number of volatiles a planet can hold, and suggests that the size limit for planets to have the right ratio of water to habitable surface atmospheres is not limited to previous ideas. more limited than .
Professor Wang suggests that scientists looking for alien life in the future should use the size of the planets as a more important reference than previously thought.
“The size of an exoplanet is one of the easiest parameters to determine,” Professor Wang said. “Based on size and mass, we now know whether an exoplanet is a candidate for life, as the first-order determining factor for unstable retention is size.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /