Mars Used to Have Water: Where Did It Go?

Manned Mars Mission

Mars’ Missing Water Might Be Hiding in Its Minerals

by Theresa Machemer/

The Martian landscape is an arid expanse of craters and sandstorms, but scientists have spotted several signs that at one point in its life, the Red Planet was awash with blue waters. Scientists have theorized that much of the planet’s water was lost to outer space as the atmosphere dissipated.

But the planet’s vast oceans couldn’t have been lost to space fast enough to account for other milestones in Mars’ existence. The water must have gone somewhere else. A new study presents a solution: the water became incorporated into the chemical makeup of the ground itself. The research uses new computer models and found that if Mars once had a global ocean between 328 and 4,900 feet deep, then a significant amount of that water might now be stored in the planet’s crust.

The study, published on March 16 in the journal Science and presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, incorporated data collected from Martian meteorites and by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

“The fact that we can tell that there used to be a lot of water on Mars has really big implications for the potential for Mars to have had life in the past,” ….Read More:

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  1. As Mars has only about one tenth the mass of Earth, the escape velocity of Mars is much lower than Earth’s. Mars’ escape velocity is less than half of Earth’s. Lighter gas elements are able to reach speeds greater than their average speed that allows them to escape from the planet at the edge of the atmosphere. Hydrogen and Helium are the only gases that can escape from the Earth’s gravitational field. Oxygen apparently is lost from Mars’ gravitational field because of the lower required escape velocity. Lose enough Hydrogen and Oxygen from your atmosphere and you lose the two atoms required to make water.

  2. For comparison, the water on the planet Earth is continually driven out to the surface by the interior heat which is driven by the fission of Uranium and Thorium.

    Mars nuclear reactor went out.

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