If astronomers ae excited about something, then that something is most definitely Mars. 2015 has been a very exciting year for researchers which have made a couple of extremely important discoveries on the red planet that radically changed how we look at the red planet.
From believing that Mars was a desolate, inhospitable and toxic planet, we have realized through scientific study, that the red planet was very similar to Earth in the distant past.
Here we have of the most important discoveries that have been made on mars in 2015
The most exciting discovery NASA has made this year on Mars is without a doubt finding the presence of liquid flowing water on the surface of the red planet.
Water… Liquid-flowing water on the surface of Mars
This discovery is the first direct evidence of a long-suspected theory.
Not long ago researchers believe that it was nearly impossible for liquid water to exist on Mars. Today their views and opinions changed drastically as evidence of liquid water has been found. Next step? Finding evidence of life on the red planet, and that is something that should take long. According to scientists from NASA, there is liquid water on the surface of the red planet, and this discovery boosts, like never before the possibility to find alien life forms elsewhere in the cosmos.
“The most exciting thing about the announcement today is that it would be possible to have life on Mars,” said NASA’s John Grunsfeld
NASA has finally announced that they have found the strongest evidence yet confirming the existence of liquid water on Mars and everyone is extremely excited since this discovery could mean that Mars could support at least simple life forms. NASA calls it ‘spectral evidence,’ lines in four different places on the surface of Mars, which confirm researcher’s hypothesis of the existence of water in a liquid state on the red planet. Researchers believe that water flows could point NASA and other agencies towards the best places to look for life on the red planet. This discovery greatly increases the chances of success for future human colonies on Mars.
The Red Planet could have supported Life but the Sun destroyed the Red Planet’s Atmosphere
According to calculations from MAVEN mission scientists, a quarter pound of the remaining Martian Atmosphere (which is made up of oxygen and carbon dioxide) escapes per second.
According to scientists, the slow destruction of our neighbor’s planet atmosphere was caused by “huge rope-like tendrils of magnetic rotations. The red planet’s once hospitable atmosphere was blown away in the distant past. But how did this happen? Well, the atmosphere was blown away because Mars’ magnetic field shut down. NASA scientists say that even though the red planet had a magnetic field, around 4.2 billion years ago it shut down. The process of Mars losing its precious atmosphere most likely occurred over a period of several hundred million years. Scientists speculate that during this time, the red planet was hit by “extreme ultraviolet photons” from the sun. Before this happened, water was most likely abundant on the red planet and it is very likely that life as we know it could have developed on Mars.
According to scientists the solar wind usually travels at one million miles per hour. The upper atmosphere of the red planet was more exposed to solar winds. Researchers believe that the solar storms were much more frequent in the distant past meaning that the atmosphere of the red planet was stripped away at a much faster rate than today.
This means that when Mars was much younger, it was much warmer and wetter, meaning that it was a very good candidate for life to develop. Scientists believe that Mars’ oceans evaporated due to the planet’s thinning atmosphere which caused it to leak into space.
Methane on Mars; Proof of life on the red planet?
So far there had been no major doubts if Mars was once a habitable planet, that radiation does not pose an insurmountable barrier for future humans on the red planet. Now one of its scientific instruments detected a source of methane that appears and disappears without explanation. So where is the issue? Well, it isn’t an issue exactly is just something no one knows what it is, confusing?
On Earth, 90% of all methane in the atmosphere is produced by living organisms. Curiosity captured traces of methane on the Red Planet and scientists believe this could point to the presence of life on the red planet, at this precise moment, although there are other possible explanations. For now, there is only one thing clear, something is causing methane levels to multiply up to ten times and then back down drastically.
Does this mean Mars has life? Well, it could point toward that possibility if you compare the methane levels on Earth and what causes them here, then yeah, it’s quite possible. Now add to all of the methane conspiracy the fact that Mars actually had liquid water in the past? Well, the chances are actually pretty high that there is something that is producing methane spikes on Mars, and that something could, in fact, be a living organism.
So what are the facts? Well, new data from Curiosity gathered on the red planet can settle the matter: there is methane on Mars. The study compiles 20 months of data during which the robot marked its largest and most expensive exploration of history during his journey through the Gale crater, which has over 150 kilometers in diameter near the Martian Ecuador. The Gale crater was chosen due to its potential for research to find new clues about whether life existed on the red planet. In this environment, Curiosity registered surges of methane gas levels using the SAM instrument. These show that the base values are lower than thought, just 0.7 parts per billion in volume (ppmv), but data has also shown that the values increased significantly six times, on some occasions even exceeding seven ppmv, 10 times higher. This indicates that there is an additional source of methane of unknown origin.