Several researchers at Washington University in St. Louis recently published a study in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), They highlight that several reasons would prevent this, at least in the medium or long term, Mars is a habitable option for humans.
Despite the perception that the so-called ‘red planet’ It is a brother to the planet Earth, the fact, according to scientists, is that the arid environment and lack of water reduce the chances of it being habitable for humans.
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The study suggests that this may be because, apparently, Mars is not large enough to hold water.
“Mars is only 53% the diameter of Earth (a little more than half the size), and this would make it impossible for Mars to hold onto volatiles that we know are vital to life, like water.” The authors explain in a statement.
Being so small would prevent this planet from holding large amounts of water resources necessary for human life.
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Remote sensing studies and analyzes of Martian meteorites dating back to the 1980s assume that Mars was richer in water, compared to Earth. NASA’s orbiting Viking spacecraft and, more recently, the Curiosity and Perseverance spacecraft on Earth, have yielded dramatic images of views of Mars punctuated by river valleys and flood channels.
Despite this evidence, there was no liquid water left on the surface. Researchers have come up with several possible explanations, including the weakening of Mars’ magnetic field that could lead to the loss of a thicker atmosphere.
“The fate of Mars was decided much earlier,” said Kun Wang, associate professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts and Sciences and lead author of the study. “There is likely to be a threshold in the size requirements of rocky planets to hold enough water to allow life and plate tectonics, with a mass greater than that of Mars,” the researcher said.
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