Hostile climate on Mars could complicate human life there

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Gravitational waves triggered by large dust storms can cause atmospheric gases from Mars to escape into outer space, and this is not a good sign for human settlements, reveal data from the first observational research conducted on the Red Planet published by Geophysical Letters.

Detected from an analysis of the density of carbon dioxide in the environment conducted on board NASA equipment, these factors represent additional complications for a possible transfer of Earth’s civilization.

Erdal Yigit, associate professor of physics at George Mason University, explains that with each passing year, the region “gives up” material that would help to heat the extremely cold territory, even resulting in the loss of its magnetic field and much of its atmosphere, something that has been going on for at least 4 billion years – a process that, at first, cannot be reversed. The problem, however, does not stop there.

“The atmosphere on Mars cannot sustain liquid water at the scales and quantities we are familiar with on Earth,” explained Yigit. “If the planet is so dry and so cold, then it is very difficult for life to form; if formed, it does not last long.” Furthermore, he adds, the storms mentioned do not make things easier.

Able to cover huge surface areas, if they occurred on Earth, only one of the events already observed would affect spaces from North America to Asia and from Antarctica to the North Pole. What’s more, they can also be long, lasting between two and four months, and are largely unpredictable. This would “trap” potential colonists in capsules over there and prevent them from acting outside them.

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“Our study generated more questions than answers,” says Erdal. “If we want to imagine Mars as a second home, we would have to deal with this problem [of atmospheric escape]. The planet would be continuously losing gas in space. Can we stop the phenomenon?”, He asks.

Nobody said it would be easy, but …

The research was part of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN), mission of NASA’s Mars Scout program, which aims to understand whether there is or could be life on the Red Planet, and its results appear just when several other forays are underway. on site.

Exemplifying the disturbance of such storms, Yigit indicates: “In the images, you can see that if there is a sandstorm, the planet will be completely orange, very orange. If not, you will see the surface [of Mars] through space telescopes. . ” Imagine, then, being in the middle of it all.

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