Presence of water on planet Mars is a very old paradox now. There are so many geographical evidences that proves presence of periodic rivers that flowed across the surface of planet. When these rivers were supposed to flow with waters, around 3-4 billion years back, Mars was too warm to accommodate any liquid on its surface. A research team from Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is of the opinion that Mars might have been warmed periodically by a very potent greenhouse effect. They discovered that interactions between carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane may have led to creation of warm periods as and when the planet was able to support liquid water over surface.
Robin Wordsmith, an assistant professor in environmental science and engineering department at the SEAS, says, “Early Mars is unique in the sense that it’s the one planetary environment, outside Earth, where we can say with confidence that there were at least episodic periods where life could have flourished. If we understand how early Mars operated, it could tell us something about the potential for finding life on other planets outside the solar system.”
Almost four billion years back, the Sun was 30 percent milder as compared to present day and emitted much less solar radiations that reached up to the surface of Mars. the very scant radiations that reached the planet were trapped by the atmosphere and led to intermittent warm periods. The main culprit must have been CO2 that constituted about 95 percent of Martian atmosphere. Wordsworth further adds, “You can do climate calculations where you add CO2 and build up to hundreds of times the present day atmospheric pressure on Mars and you still never get to temperatures that are even close to the melting point.This research shows that the warming effects of both methane and hydrogen have been underestimated by a significant amount, “We discovered that methane and hydrogen, and their interaction with carbon dioxide, were much better at warming early Mars than had previously been believed.”
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