Mars is a promising destination for the search for life beyond Earth in the solar system. Several studies have suggested that the Red Planet has water and also its atmosphere has traces of oxygen but in a low quantity. A new study has now suggested that water on Mars is trapped within its minerals in the crust. It said that 30 to 99 percent of water is still trapped underground. The latest findings question the previous theories that Martian water escaped into space because its atmosphere is thin. Studies claimed that atmospheric escape played a key role in water loss on the planet. Researchers from the California Institute of Technology and Jet Propulsion Laboratory said that they studied the quantity of water in all forms over time to arrive at a conclusion that water didn’t escape into space wholly.
The team said that Mars’ surface once hosted large bodies of water just like oceans on Earth. The planet was home to enough water that covered its entire surface. A Martian ocean was 100 to 1,500 meters deep. Researchers said that there is enough evidence available to suggest that water was available on Mars in the form of liquid. They predicted that water flowed on the planet’s surface at least four billion years ago. But the planet lost water by a billion years later. It became as dry as it is today. Scientists in past suggested that Mars lost water into space because of its low gravity. It said that some atmospheric escape did happen, but it is hard to believe that Mars lost whole water this way.
Researchers studied Mars’s atmosphere’s chemical composition and crust. They used data sent by Mars rovers and orbiters to Earth stations. The findings indicate that reservoirs of ancient hydrated minerals are to be blamed for water escaping the Martian surface. The surface water was sequestered. Water in the liquid form never cycled back on the planet. The latest findings will have strong implications for future studies. NASA and several other agencies have sent multiple missions to Mars to look for the signs of microbial life. NASA is the only space agency in the world to operate rovers on the Martian surface. It is hoping to land the first humans on the planet by end of the decade.