Planetary scientists discover a short presence of water on the Arabian continent of Mars

To support Mars’ research, Koeppel (left) and Edwards (right) conducted analog research in a burning field near Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff’s research site collects data in the field and simulates drones and satellite images.Credits: Northern Arizona University

As part of a team of collaborative researchers at Northern Arizona University, Johns Hopkins University, and Northern Arizona University (NAU) PhD. Candidate Ali Koppel recently discovered that water once existed in a region of Mars called the Arabia Terrain.

The Arabian continent is at the north latitude of Mars. Named by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli in 1879, this ancient land covers a slightly larger area than the continent of Europe. The Arabian continent has beautiful rock belts reminiscent of craters, volcanic calderas, canyons, painted desert and Badlands sedimentary rock formations.

These rock layers and how they were formed can be found in his advisors, Christopher Edwards, Associate Professor of Astronomical and Planetary Sciences at NAU, Andrew Annex, Kevin Lewis, and Gabriel, an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University. Along with Carilo, it was the focus of Koppel’s research. Their study entitled “Fleeting Fragile Records” water “on Mars” was funded by the NASA Mars Data Analysis Program and recently published in the journal. Geology..

“We are particularly interested in using the rocks on the surface of Mars to better understand the environment of the past 3-4 billion years ago and whether it may have been. I did. Climatic conditions “I was interested in whether there was stable water, how much stable water there was, what the atmosphere was like, and what the surface temperature was.”

To better understand what happened to create the rock formation, scientists focused on thermal inertia, which defines the ability of materials to change temperature. Sand with small, loose particles quickly increases and decreases heat, while hard rocks remain warm after dark. By examining the surface temperature, they were able to determine the physical properties of the rocks in the study area. They were able to know if the material was loose and eroded when it otherwise appeared to be solid.

“No one has done a detailed thermal inertial survey of these really interesting deposits that cover most of the surface of Mars,” Edwards said.

To complete the study, Koeppel used a remote sensing device on an orbiting satellite. “Like geologists on Earth, we look at rocks and try to talk about the environment of the past,” says Koeppel. “On Mars, we are a little more restricted. We just can’t go rock Outcrops and collect samples — we rely heavily on satellite data. Therefore, there are only a few satellites orbiting Mars, and each satellite hosts a collection of equipment. Each instrument plays a unique role in explaining the rocks on the surface. “

Through a series of investigations using this remotely collected data, they examined evidence of erosion, crater conditions, and minerals present, in addition to thermal inertia.

“These deposits were found to be much less cohesive than previously thought by everyone, which indicates that this setting may have had only a short period of water.” Said Koeppel. “For some people, such things draw air from the story, because having more time and more water is more likely to be the life that was there at some point. Because we often think of it. A series of new questions come up. What are the possible conditions that made it possible for water to be there for a short period of time? Rapidly in a huge flood explosion Could there have been a melted glacier in the ground? Could there have been a groundwater system? Did it penetrate and sink from the ground for only a short period of time? “

Koeppel began his career at the University of Engineering and Physics, but switched to geology research while earning a master’s degree from City University of New York.He came to NAU to work with Edwards and immerse himself in prosperity Planetary science Flagstaff community.

“I entered planetary science because I was so excited to explore the world beyond the Earth. The universe is surprisingly large. Even Mars is just the tip of the iceberg,” Koeppel said. “But we’ve been studying Mars for decades. At this point, we’ve accumulated a huge amount of data. We’re starting to study Mars at a level comparable to how we study the Earth. It’s a really exciting time for Martian science. ”

The rocks on the floor of the Jezero crater on Mars show signs of sustained interaction with water.

For more information:
Ari HD Koeppel et al, a fragile record of fleeting water on Mars, Geology (2021). DOI: 10.1130 / G49285.1

Quote: Planetary scientists on the Arabia Terrain of Mars (November 30, 2021) from https: // December 2021 Discovered a short presence of water acquired in one day.

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair transactions for personal investigation or research purposes. Content is provided for informational purposes only. Planetary scientists discover a short presence of water on the Arabian continent of Mars

Back to top button