Scientists have found out why life did not exist on Mars
Scientists have proven that there has never been life on Mars.
Plans to colonize the Red Planet have existed for a long time. The mystery of whether life once existed on Mars has also existed for a long time. Numerous studies have not yet found confirmation of this. A group of scientists conducted their research to prove that it could never have been there.Modern data allow us to confidently say that liquid water was once present on Mars. Rivers flowed there and lakes formed, which indicates the presence of a dense atmosphere and comfortable temperatures. But today the planet looks more like Dune from Frank Herbert's novel of the same name, only this dune is cold. An international team of scientists have found, probably, the root cause of the planet's drying out – it is the size that does not allow to hold enough water.
How potassium isotopes helped solve the mystery of Mars drying out
Scientists say that & # 171; the fate of Mars was decided from the very beginning & # 187 ;. There is a certain limitation on the minimum size of planets to support plate tectonics and hold enough water on the surface to give rise to life.
In the study, scientists used stable isotopes of potassium to estimate the presence, distribution and content of volatiles on different planetary bodies.
Potassium is a moderately volatile element, so scientists decided to use it as an indicator for more volatile elements and compounds like water. By studying the level of this chemical element in space bodies, it is possible to establish the relationship between the size of the planet and its ability to retain volatiles and gases.
Scientists have measured the isotopic composition of potassium in 20 Martian meteorites that ended up on Earth … Before that, meteorites were in space for many millions of years, which helped us understand how Mars looked like millions and billions of years ago.
Studies have shown that the Red Planet has lost much more potassium and, accordingly, other volatile substances than the Earth during its formation. But smaller than the Moon or Vesta – space bodies that are smaller than Mars and much drier.
Therefore, there is a clear relationship between the size of a space body and its ability to hold volatile substances. Mars from the very beginning & # 171; was doomed & # 187; lose water. This probably made it impossible either for the origin of life in general, or its further development and survival.