Water on Mars Left With Atmosphere, Shows Rover

    July 22, 2013
    Sean Patterson
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It’s been nearly one year since Mars rover Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012. During that year, the rover has analyzed soil, drilled rock samples to determine whether conditions on Mars could have ever been conducive to life. Now, Curiosity has fulfilled that goal.

NASA has announced that two new studies based on Curiosity’s research have been published in the journal Science. They show that the rover has uncovered evidence that Mars has lost much of its original atmosphere. Though the current Martian atmosphere is too thin for water to remain on the planet’s surface, there is evidence to suggest that water was once abundant on the red planet.

These conclusions are based on soil samples Curiosity analyzed using its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments. The measurements compared the amount of heavier and lighter isotopes of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen in the Martian soil. Heavier isotopes of those elements are found in Mars’ atmosphere today, suggesting to researchers that Mars’ atmosphere was lost near its top, depleting lighter isotopes.

“Getting the same result with two very different techniques increased our confidence that there’s no unknown systematic error underlying the measurements,” said Chris Webster, lead author of one of the studies and the team lead for the SAM tunable laser spectrometer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). “The accuracy in these new measurements improves the basis for understanding the atmosphere’s history.”

Curiosity just passed the milestone of having driven one kilometer on Mars. The rover is currently on a months-long journey to a Martian mountain named Mount Sharp, where researchers hope multiple revealed layers of rock will provide a glimpse of how the surface of the red planet has changed.

  • Larry Fyne

    This lack of water on Mars claim is pure common sense. If earth lost it’s atmosphere we’d lose our water too. Duh…it too would evaporate.

  • http://msn charles

    there is life on mars just deep under ground and they have been hear with us for thousand’s of years also. the world gov will not tell the truth.someday they will come out

  • Tim Hill

    Next time I plan on hiking the hills of mars ill remember to bring plenty of water. If a person was to run out of water there, I dont think you could get life flighted out……..

  • http://Yahoo norm

    What is at the top of Mar’s? And why is it white? I think that the rover should have been droped there and it might have found some thing that could have to the people on earth at least some thing more than most people here on earth already kind of know already that if there was water it is gone now!

    • L

      It’s ice. And every time they’ve sent a rover there, it loses contact before touching ground.

  • Nate

    The dinosaurs were killed by the people of Mars so they could survive. We are all from Mars.