Pioneering research: Mars has seasons, and thus may have a chance for life | Science and the planet

Mars had seasons, and so weather conditions changed millions of years ago, just like Earth. This does not necessarily mean that life was once possible, but that conditions were “conducive to the development of life,” say French researchers in the scientific journal Nature.

Scientists from the Universities of Lyon and Toulouse studied the measurements of the American spacecraft Curiosity. That rover has been roaming the surface of Mars since 2012.

Wet and dry seasons

The Earth is made up of loose plates that are constantly sliding against each other, sliding on top of each other or drifting away from each other. We see it in volcanoes and earthquakes. So the surface is constantly changing. Mars does not have that, and traces of billions of years old lakes and rivers can be found on its surface.

In layers 3.8 to 3.6 billion years old, Curiosity has found hexagonal salt deposits. This is also found on Earth, for example in the salt flats of South America. Hexagons are formed when water evaporates in dry seasons. According to the researchers, this indicates that Mars was used to having wet and dry seasons. Laboratory research has shown that the building blocks of life can arise in such conditions.

faster in its axis

Earlier this week, scientists discovered that Mars is spinning faster on its axis. As a result, the days on the Red Planet are getting shorter and shorter. NASA’s conclusion is based on information from the InSight Mars lander. For four years, that spacecraft collected data about Mars and returned it to Earth. Until it sent its last image of the planet in December 2022. The car was without power and outages. Finish the job.

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The amount of valuable information returned from InSight allowed NASA scientists to determine the rotational speed of Mars. As it turns out, the planet rotates 4 milliseconds faster on its axis every year. An arcsecond is a unit of indicating the size of an angle: there are more than 1.2 million arcseconds in a full 360-degree circle. Days on Mars are getting shorter by milliseconds. So the subtle difference.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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