There is a saying that no carbon means no carbon-based lifeforms. So what happened to all the carbon on the red planet? NASA Mars Rover is digging and analyzing the Martian surface to ascertain the existence of any life or evidence of any life in the past.
Among various mysteries of Mars is the fact that its atmosphere is devoid of much of its carbon. Scientists have been grappling with the puzzle for some time no. A team of scientists, however, claim that they have found the answer to the puzzle.
Mars has a sparing dense atmosphere of carbon dioxide. The layer is much too thin to prevent the sublimation and evaporation of water vapor. Researchers, however, suggest that the red planet must once have been shrouded in an atmosphere much thicker than Earth. However, a question remained as to where have all the carbon disappeared?
Researchers from Caltech and JPL suggest that some 3.8 billion years ago Mars might have had only a moderately thick atmosphere. The team has unearthed a photochemical process that must have the early atmosphere evolve into the present thin one. The process also eliminated the question of “missing” carbon and in a way that is consistent with existing carbon isotopic measurements.
According to the lead author Renyu Hu, everything about the Martian atmosphere will come together like a jigsaw puzzle in a way that is consistent with the picture of its evolution.
The question of the missing carbon can be explained by two possible mechanisms – Either the carbon dioxide was incorporated into minerals in the rocks called carbonate, or it must have been lost into space.
Understanding of the fate of carbon on Mars will also give the man a look of the fate of its planet.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.