Large amount of water discovered beneath the largest canyon in the Solar System

The surface of Mars should have no water at the equator, and very little just below that surface. And yet instruments from the ExoMars mission say the opposite in parts of the Red Planet’s famous giant canyon: Wallace Marineris,

As we know, the question of the presence of water on Mars, now or in its past, is also important to us.exobiology Compared to the colonization of the Red Planet. We’re also trying to determine where Deposit ice and if possible water liquid To send there settlers and exobiologists. in the latter case, perhaps still in areas volcanically active and therefore the source Heat By keeping water in a liquid state, we might think that we would have a better chance of discovering living Martian organisms.

What is certain is that the presence of ice on the surface of Mars is commensurate with temperature and pressure, so in general, we do not expect to find it at temperature.Equator Because it is usually very hot there. The ice on the surface will quickly freeze. But it can exist in depth. So it is with a certain surprise that we learn Via an article published in a newspaper Icarus That there must be significant amounts of water, perhaps in the form of ice, but actually just below the surface of the famous Martian Grand Canyon: Wallace Marineris,

Layers made up of 40% water?

This is the conclusion drawn by a team of planetary scientists studying the data by the joint mission of ESA and Roscosmos, namely ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, These data were more accurately provided by the friend instrument (Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector) which allows the content to be determined hydrogen, and therefore in water, about a meter thick of the surface layers of Mars.

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Igor Mitrofanovfrom the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, lead author of the new study and lead researcher of the neutron detector, explains in a press releaseShe Why'” With TGO, we can look up to a meter beneath the dusty layers and see what’s really going on beneath the surface of Mars – and, more importantly, detect water-rich “dew” , which could not be recognized by previous devices “And He Adds” Friend reveals region with unusually high amounts of hydrogen in giant canyon system Wallace Marineris : assuming that the hydrogen we see is bound to water molecules, up to 40% matter This area appears to have water near the surface. ,

His Russian colleague and co-author Alexei Malakhov, also from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explains that: ” Friend’s unique observation technology provides Resolution Much more spatial than previous measurements of this type, now allowing us to see structures with water that had not been observed before. We determined that a central part of Valles Marineris was filled with water – much more than we expected. It looks like areas of a lot permafrost Earth, where water ice is permanently retained beneath dry soil due to persistently low temperatures. ,

water that blocks the flow of cosmic neutrons

We also learn in the press release that the water-rich region is roughly the size of the Netherlands and extends into its deep valleys candor glasses,

But how can we detect the presence of water with a flux of neutrons and in addition to it from an instrument? Orbit ,

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As shown in the series of diagrams above, the bombardment of cosmic rays reason in responsecase by Neutron atoms From the surface of Mars, for example at the bottom of a Martian crater.

However, hydrogen atoms act as a kind of filter for the flow of neutrons from the upper layers of the Martian surface and are the cause of these. cosmic rays, Remarkably, it is possible to use the measurement of the characteristics of this flow, more precisely its intensity reduction, to deduce not only the presence of a layer of ice or organic molecules rich in hydrogen atoms, but also of these layers. There is also thickness. ,

The presence of water appears to be acquired, but since researchers believe that the water is in the form of ice, it is possible that it may be partially or completely as well. Minerals hydrated.

In any case, this is a bit paradoxical because this water is too close to the surface, where it may not be present, suggesting the mechanisms that need to be elucidated to understand its presence. Thus the layer can be continuously filled with water.

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About the Author: Tad Fisher

Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.

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