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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Martian atmosphere depleting at much faster pace than Earth, suggests ISRO study

ISRO has observed the intense heating-up of the upper layer of Mars' atmosphere due to much-prevalent dust storms, through its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) which is keeping surveillance on Mars' atmosphere

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 24, 2020 7:20:27 pm
Earth, Mars, How to look at Mars, Mars and Earth in closes proximity, Mars view from Earth, Mars closest to Earth, Mars closest to Earth until 2035, NasaISRO has observed the intense heating-up of the upper layer of Mars' atmosphere (Image: Pixabay)

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has claimed some startling revelations regarding the planet next door. In its newly concluded inferences, ISRO has said that Mars is seemingly losing its atmosphere at a much rapid pace as compared to the Earth. Further, it also cited the reason behind the speed-up of dust storms in recent times on the Red planet.

According to the study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, ISRO has observed the intense heating-up of the upper layer of Mars’ atmosphere due to much-prevalent dust storms, through its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) which is keeping surveillance on Mars’ atmosphere. In addition to it, such findings have also been, earlier, corroborated by NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN).

Both these missions pertaining to probe on the Martian atmosphere have penetrated 155 Kms deep into Mars’s atmosphere where MOM is towards the evening side, MAVEN is on the morning side of the planet. MOM has started observing the whipping up of such dust storms since June 2018.

The study also suggests that the rate of loss of the atmosphere depends on the size of the planet and that the temperature of the upper level of the atmosphere. In comparison with the Earth, Mars is a relatively smaller planet with rampant and rapid dust storms, consequently having hazardous impacts on its atmosphere. There has been significant warming and expansion that have taken place in the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere.

In addition, MOM also revealed that such occurrences of dust-storm regularly take place during the evening. In the hindsight, it has led to the inference that the amount of Argon has considerably increased with an increase in neutral densities in the upper portion of Mars’ atmosphere. This has also been found by a group of scientists through measuring Mars’ thermosphere.

ALSO READ | NASA set to reveal an ‘exciting discovery’ about Moon on Monday

This phenomenon of the loss of the Martian atmosphere poses a substantial impediment for NASA which is planning to usher-in a human mission on the planet as early as the 2030s. The challenge would remain as a hindrance for future human establishment as the heating of the atmosphere due to radioactive heating will lead to extreme heating of the air that may escape the Martian atmosphere before eventually waning away into outer space.

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