New water cycle on Mars discovered

**New water cycle on Mars discovered
Billions of years ago, Mars could have looked like this with an ocean covering part of its surface. Credit: NASA/GSFC

Approximately every two Earth years, when it is summer on the southern hemisphere of Mars, a window opens: Only in this season can water vapor efficiently rise from the lower into the upper Martian atmosphere. There, winds carry the rare gas to the north pole. While part of the water vapor decays and escapes into space, the rest sinks back down near the poles. Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany describe this unusual Martian water cycle in a current issue of the Geophysical Research Letters. Their computer simulations show how water vapor overcomes the barrier of cold air in the middle atmosphere of Mars and reaches higher atmospheric layers. This could explain why Mars, unlike Earth, has lost most of its water.

Billions of years ago, Mars was a planet rich in water with rivers, and even an ocean. Since then, our neighboring planet has changed dramatically. Today, only small amounts of frozen water exist in the ground; in the atmosphere, water occurs only in traces. All in all, the planet may have lost at least 80 percent of its original water. In the upper atmosphere of Mars, ultraviolet radiation from the sun split water molecules into hydrogen (H) and hydroxyl radicals (OH). The hydrogen escaped from there irretrievably into space. Measurements by space probes and space telescopes show that even today, water is still lost in this way. But how is this possible? The middle atmosphere layer of Mars, like Earth's tropopause, should actually stop the rising gas. After all, this region is usually so cold that water vapor would turn to ice. How does the Martian water vapor reach the upper air layers?

In their current simulations, the Russian and German researchers find a previously unknown mechanism reminiscent of a kind of pump. Their model comprehensively describes the flows in the entire gas envelope surrounding Mars from the surface to an altitude of 160 kilometers. The calculations show that the normally ice-cold middle atmosphere becomes permeable to water vapor twice a day—but only at a certain location, and at a certain time of year.

**New water cycle on Mars discovered
Vertical distribution of water vapor on Mars during the course of a Mars year, here shown at 3 am local time. Only when it is summer on the southern hemisphere can water vapor reach higher atmospheric layers. Credit: GPL, Shaposhnikov et al.: Seasonal „Water“ Pump in the Atmosphere of Mars: Vertical Transport to the Thermosphere

The orbit of Mars plays a decisive role in this. Its path around the sun, which lasts about two Earth years, is much more elliptical than that of our planet. At the point closest to the sun (which roughly coincides with the summer of the southern hemisphere), Mars is approximately 42 million kilometers closer to the sun than at its furthest point. Summer in the southern hemisphere is therefore noticeably warmer than summer in the northern hemisphere.

"When it is summer in the southern hemisphere, at certain times of day, water vapor can rise locally with warmer air masses and reach the upper atmosphere," says Paul Hartogh from MPS, summarizing the results of the new study. In the upper atmospheric layers, air flows carry the gas along the longitudes to the north pole, where it cools and sinks down again. However, part of the water vapor escapes this cycle: under the influence of solar radiation, the water molecules disintegrate and hydrogen escapes into space.

Another Martian peculiarity can fortify this unusual hydrological cycle: huge that span the entire planet and repeatedly afflict Mars at intervals of several years. The last such storms occurred in 2018 and 2007 and were comprehensively documented by orbiting Mars. "The amounts of dust swirling through the atmosphere during such a storm facilitate the transport of water vapor into high air layers," says Alexander Medvedev from MPS.

**New water cycle on Mars discovered
Time and again, Martian dust stroms span the entire planet, as here in June 2018. The image was taken from the NASA's rover Curiosity. Storms of this kind can facilitate the transport of water into the upper atmosphere of Mars. Credit: NASA

The researchers calculated that during the dust storm of 2007, twice as much water vapor reached the upper atmosphere as during a stormless summer in the southern hemisphere. Since the dust particles absorb sunlight and thus heat up, the temperatures in the entire atmosphere rise by up to 30 degrees. "Our model shows with unprecedented accuracy how dust in the atmosphere affects the microphysical processes involved in the transformation of ice into water vapor," explains Dmitry Shaposhnikov of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, first author of the new study.

"Apparently, the Martian is more permeable to than that of the Earth," Hartogh concludes. "The new seasonal water cycle that has been found contributes massively to Mars' continuing loss of ."


Explore further

Dust storms linked to gas escape from Martian atmosphere

More information: Dmitry S. Shaposhnikov et al. Seasonal Water "Pump" in the Atmosphere of Mars: Vertical Transport to the Thermosphere, Geophysical Research Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1029/2019GL082839
Journal information: Geophysical Research Letters

Provided by Max Planck Society
Citation: New water cycle on Mars discovered (2019, May 10) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-mars.html
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May 10, 2019
I'm with Brian Cox, Mars still has most, the vast majority, of its water, buried in the regolith.

May 10, 2019
WCFTSATFM explains how Mars lost its atmosphere

May 10, 2019
And then there is Boriska Kipriyanovich of Volgograd, Russia, who claims to have been born and lived on Mars in a previous life. The fact that he knew so much about outer space as a very young child but hadn't been coached or tutored about Mars is amazing. And now, scientists have found water vapour flowing on Mars. More startling news. If Boris had indeed lived on Mars in a past life, it must have been millions of Martian years ago when there still was water on the surface of the planet..
To be quite honest, I hope that the boy is not making it up.

https://www.thesu...anovich/

May 10, 2019
This link is more current - 2019
The boy from Mars is now in his twenties and still tells the same stories.

https://www.scien...ars-boy/


May 12, 2019
The fact that he knew so much about outer space as a very young child but hadn't been coached or tutored about Mars is amazing.
The mind boggles at the level of stupidity required to not only believe such tripe, but also to mention it in a post in a forum dedicated to science.

May 12, 2019
The article does not state it, but the ExoMars orbiter sees the fluctuations that they can (mostly, IIRC) reproduce in the current work.

The fact that he knew so much about outer space as a very young child but hadn't been coached or tutored about Mars is amazing.


The mind boggles at the level of stupidity required to not only believe such tripe, but also to mention it in a post in a forum dedicated to science.


That is conspiracy ideation, I take it (the commenter is apparently blocked by me). The higher atmospheres of crankhood in any case, fit for the superstition sites but not here.

May 13, 2019
The mind boggles at the level of stupidity required to not only believe such tripe, but also to mention it in a post in a forum dedicated to science.
You must recognize that religion was the original form of applied science and that it was exclusively used to dominate others by instilling fear by means of lies and hoaxes backed up by observable phenomena - even if those phenomena were manufactured solely to convince the faithful to attack the doubters and unbelievers.

May 13, 2019
The mind boggles at the level of stupidity required to not only believe such tripe, but also to mention it in a post in a forum dedicated to science.
You must recognize that religion was the original form of applied science


I don't think so. Sagan noted in Cosmos that the Greek mercantilism, same as the later European, traipsed into science-without-science (observation but no test). And it was the religious mysticism of the Greek philosophers such as Platon that killed that off. After just a century, about the same time it took for the early Arab religion to kill its similar empiricism-near-science off more than a millennium later during their own early empire/colonialism period.

The European merkantilism-turned-into-science survived though, about 400 years ago, that is how old science is at most.

May 13, 2019
The fact that he knew so much about outer space as a very young child but hadn't been coached or tutored about Mars is amazing.
The mind boggles at the level of stupidity required to not only believe such tripe, but also to mention it in a post in a forum dedicated to science.

says SkyLight

LOL You are so predictable, as always. The mind boggles at the stupidity that you display in ascribing a belief in the story to the commenter who submitted it. You didn't think it of any importance to ASK FIRST whether or not the story was believed, or is even believable. You tend to shoot off your mouth without at least going through the motions of finding out the opinions of the submitter.
The article's topic is with regard to Mars. Thus, any story regarding Mars is welcome in this phorum, whether believable or not. So you are still attempting to censor each physorg phorum in which you enter. You would make an excellent Communist bureaucrat.

May 13, 2019
@dusty
You must recognize that religion was the original form of applied science
no, it wasn't

"Applied science is the application of existing scientific knowledge to practical applications, like technology or inventions." - wiki

by definition, it could *not* have been applied science simply because it appealed to supernatural means for an explanation which is neither applied nor science

moreover, it was also not capable of predictability making it no better than random chance, even with heavy prayer

religious persons may have performed science, but that doesn't make religion equivalent to science, nor does it make religion applied science

farmers, on the other hand, regularly deal with "applied science"

May 14, 2019
religious persons may have performed science, but that doesn't make religion equivalent to science, nor does it make religion applied science
The Shaman who could assure successful crops by noting the position of the sun at sunrise, or anticipate rainfall with cloud formation, or heal illness by knowledge gained from watching animals eat certain herbs and berries, was indeed practicing science. But to attain power and leadership, as well as retain deniability, this knowledge was shrouded in mysticism, ritual and superstition.

It was of no importance if the Shaman believed in deity, as long as the followers believed that the Shaman was in direct communication with their gods.

cont.

May 14, 2019
cont.

In this way, by (mis)using knowledge, a Shaman was able to dominate his followers by passing off any disasters as punishment by gods made angry by misbehaving followers and any successes as rewards for prayer, sacrifice, and good behavior.

No, while religion and superstition are not science, they, like any pseudo-science, fraud and hoax, must have enough truth to be believable.

cont.

May 14, 2019
cont.

moreover, it was also not capable of predictability making it no better than random chance, even with heavy prayer


I suppose that depends on where you place the separation between observation, prediction, mysticism, and superstition.

A Shaman who uses knowledge gained through observation of nature to make predictions is practicing science.

Adding the trappings of mysticism and superstition forms a religious following.

This way the Shaman is able to dominate others by instilling fear by means of lies and hoaxes backed up by observable phenomena.

May 25, 2019
@dusty
The Shaman who could assure successful crops by ...was indeed practicing science. But to attain power and leadership, as well as retain deniability, this knowledge was shrouded in mysticism, ritual and superstition
it was, indeed, practising science, but it was not shrouded in mysticism as it was practised by the people who farmed, making it common knowledge by observation

this differs in that there was no central authority (a requirement of a religion)
the "shaman" was there to lead celebrations and prayer, not authorise the rainfall, season (etc), so there is a subtle difference - the "shaman" may well have lead people to a conclusion with his mysticism but the general consensus of farmers would ignore their posturing for the sake of the crop

TBC

May 25, 2019
cont'd
by (mis)using knowledge, a Shaman was able to dominate his followers
true
like any pseudo-science, fraud and hoax, must have enough truth to be believable
true

but both ignore that observations, especially seasonal and those related to farming (and time), would be common knowledge among those whose survival is directly tied to the said season, etc (farmers, for instance)
I suppose that depends on where you place the separation between observation, prediction, mysticism, and superstition
not really
prediction is all about repeated results - a sufficiently charismatic religious leader who is highly observant can make accurate predictions but base them on superstitious first cause (this is done still today) but they're undone by a mass being able to make the same prediction based upon more reliable and consistent methods. this is displayed today in the science v religion regularly still...

TBC

May 25, 2019
cont'd
Adding the trappings of mysticism and superstition forms a religious following
true
but easily displaced by more consistent predictability

this is the problem with the statement, really

A mystic, shaman, or another type of religious leader may well use observation to manipulate others (as it's still done today, this is probable) but that doesn't mean, and let me quote you
that religion was the original form of applied science
it means that religion was the original pseudoscience misrepresenting applied science

applied science was and has always been used by farmers (etc)

so the statement "Farmers [were] the original form of applied science" is accurate, but your statement would have to be changed to "religion was the original form of pseudoscience misrepresenting applied science"


May 25, 2019
@dusty cont'd
TBH, it's far more possible that religion grew out of the applied science of the early farmer and hunter, especially with a sufficiently charismatic person

if they made pseudoscientific assumptions and were perceived to be "successful", then they would carry "weight" with others seeking answers, much like the electric universe movement and their fanatical adherence to Alfven without regard to modern validated plasma physics like magnetic reconnection

so religion likely grew because people are easily misled when they can't make their own informed decisions, much like modern pseudoscience, so they cling to an argument from authority - see any climate change or plasma physics thread for validation of this

see also: http://web.missou...ange.pdf


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