A new study suggests ice clouds above Mars may provide warmth that would allow water to flow on the Red Planet.
American researchers used computer models to predict that ice clouds in Mars’ atmosphere might create a greenhouse effect. The Earth is also experiencing a greenhouse effect, which occurs when atmospheric gases trap heat from the sun.
Today Mars is cold and desert. It is believed that the water contained in the form of ice is due to the extremely cold temperatures of the planet. However, there is a lot of evidence that rivers, lakes and even oceans once existed on Mars.
In fact, the scientists announced in February that they had created a new map designed to identify the best ice sources on Mars.
Scientists have long been trying to explain what gave Mars the massive rivers and lakes they believe existed in the planet’s past.
Researchers involved in the latest study are interested in finding a possible explanation. They create files Three dimensionalOr a 3D model of the atmosphere of Mars
The study was led by Edwin Kite, professor and planetary scientist at the University of Chicago. He said the research has made a major discovery: ice on the Martian surface likely caused a greenhouse effect. The study was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
When water or ice on a planet’s surface evaporates – which occurs when it changes from solid to steam – Build in humidity Moisture is formed when there is high water vapor in the atmosphere. Vapor helps clouds form
Researchers say that high clouds have a hotter effect than low clouds. High clouds are more likely to form if only a small area is covered with ice, such as poles or mountain peaks. They believe this is the case on Mars.
Kite said past studies have looked at similar theories. But the research is based on ideas that are linked to the behavior of our own world. “In these cloud models, they work in a very different way,” Kite said in a statement.
He said that “terrestrial modeling” would not be effective, he added, “unlike the Earth’s water cycle, which moves water rapidly between the atmosphere and the surface.”
Kite said his team’s model suggests that as water moves into the early Martian atmosphere, it will likely persist for a long time, “and that creates conditions for long-lived tall clouds.”
The team said it hopes the new theory will help scientists solve a massive “disconnection” between existing evidence about water on Mars and the ability to back up data with physics and chemistry.
Kite added that NASA’s Mars explorer Perseverance should be able to test the theory in a number of ways. For example, small rock materials can be collected and examined to reconstruct former atmospheric pressure on Mars.
Recent studies and future research into how Mars gained and lost warmth could also help scientists identify other things. Livable Earth, Kite said, “Mars is important because it is the only planet we know has the ability to save life and then lose it.”
My name is Brian Lynn.
Brian Lynn wrote this for VOA Learning English, based on a report by the University of Chicago and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Caty Weaver is editor.
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Quotes in this story
Three-dimensional (3D) – adjHave or seem to have a length, depth and height …
steam – n. Tiny liquid in the air
Livable – adjCan support life