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Science

Life on Mars? Escaping water vapour offers new clues – The Guardian

Mars

Researchers detected water emanating excessive up in skinny environment of pink planet whereas Tianwen-1 probe entered orbit on Wednesday

Agence France-Presse

Wed 10 Feb 2021 17.30 EST

Researchers have noticed water vapour escaping excessive up within the skinny environment of Mars, providing tantalising new clues as as to whether the pink planet may have as soon as hosted life.

The traces of historical valleys and river channels counsel liquid water once flowed across the surface of Mars. Right now, the water is generally locked up within the planet’s ice caps or buried underground.

However a few of it’s vaporising, within the type of hydrogen leaking from the environment, in accordance with the brand new analysis co-authored within the journal Science Advances by two scientists at Britain’s Open College.

They detected the vapour by analysing mild passing via the Martian environment utilizing an instrument known as the Nadir and Occultation for Mars Discovery.

The machine is travelling aboard the ExoMars Hint Fuel Orbiter, a joint mission between the European Space Company and Russia’s Roscosmos.

“This incredible instrument is giving us a never-before-seen view of water isotopes within the environment of Mars as a operate of each time and site,” Manish Patel, senior lecturer in planetary sciences on the Open College, mentioned.

“Measuring water isotopes is a vital factor of understanding how Mars as a planet has misplaced its water over time, and due to this fact how the habitability of the planet has modified all through its historical past,” he mentioned.

It has been a busy week for Martian analysis.

On Wednesday, the Chinese language Tianwen-1 probe entered the planet’s orbit after launching from southern China final July, within the newest advance for Beijing’s formidable house programme.

The day earlier than, the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe additionally efficiently entered Mars’ orbit, making historical past because the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.

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