Strange Behavior of Oxygen in Mars Detected By Curiosity Rover

Strange Behavior of Oxygen in Mars Detected By Curiosity Rover

The Curiosity rover landed on Mars at the Gale Crater back in 2012. Ever since then, the rover has been extremely busy in its study regarding the surface of Mars and has been trying to scrape as much information it can. All of this is aimed at understanding the history of the red planet. However, Curiosity rover has also been studying the Martian air and has been trying to find out any anomaly among the expected results. With a lot of observation, Curiosity has come up with some of its findings, which are still a mystery to the scientists. At the beginning of the year 2019, SAM or Sample Analysis at Mars, which is the tunable laser spectrometer of the Curiosity rover, found out the presence of methane in the Martian air.

With all the records of Curiosity before, it was never found such a huge amount of methane on the air of Mars. With further observation with time, SAM has found out that the behavior of oxygen in Mars is bizarre, and none of the chemical processes which are known by the scientists of Earth can explain such an odd behavior of oxygen. At present, SAM still has a period of six years to analyze and test the composition of the atmosphere on Mars. As per the revealed data, the surface contains about 95 percent of carbon dioxide. It got followed by molecular nitrogen, consisting of 2.6 percent. After that, there is 1.9 percent of Argon, about 0.16 percent of oxygen, and nearly 0.06 percent of carbon monoxide.

Mars also has different seasons, just like Earth. The change in air pressure is a lot over an entire year. In winter, the carbon dioxide present near the poles freezes due to extreme temperatures. This makes the air pressure lower. In summer and spring, the air pressure is seen to rise again, and the evaporation of the carbon dioxide gas slowly tarts o occur. The other gases are also seen to undergo a similar freezing and evaporation mechanism, except oxygen. Over 30 percent increase in the levels of oxygen got recorded during the summer and spring seasons, which is quite unusual.

Michael Wacey

I have completed a Ph.D. in Earth science and working as a professor at different colleges in Cambridge, US for the last 13 years. I also worked as a senior author for different magazines in the UK and contributed on the topic “Physical constitution of the Earth and its atmosphere”. I have won many awards for my writing on Volcanoes and its effects on the atmosphere of the earth. I have also spent more than a decade researching Hydrosphere.