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Why Mars Died, and Earth Lived


How Did Mars Lose Its Atmosphere?

Though it doesn't look like a nice place to live now, Mars may have had an atmosphere more like ours on Earth! But how did it lose it? One way a planet can lose its atmosphere is through a process called sputtering. In this process, atoms are knocked away from the atmosphere due to impacts from energetic particles. Learn more in this video!

Why Mars Died, and Earth Lived

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The Mars rover, Curiosity, is the latest in a long line of missions to Mars: landers sent to scoop its soil and study its rocks, orbiters sent to map its valleys and ridges.

They are all asking the same question. Did liquid water once flow on this dry and dusty world? Did it support life in any form? And are there remnants left to find? The science that comes out of these missions may help answer a much larger, more philosophical question.

Is our planet Earth the norm, in a galaxy run through with life-bearing planets? Or is Earth a rare gem, with a unique make-up and history that allowed it to give rise to living things? On Mars, Curiosity has spotted pebbles and other rocks commonly associated with flowing water.

It found them down stream on what appears to be an ancient river fan, where water flowed down into Gale Crater. This shows that at some point in the past, Mars had an atmosphere, cloudy skies, and liquid water flowing. So what could have turned it into the desolate world we know today?

One process that very likely played a role goes by the unscientific name, sputtering. Like the other planets in our solar system, Mars is lashed by high-energy photons from the Sun. When one of these photons enters the atmosphere of a planet, it can crash into a molecule, knocking loose an electron and turning it into an ion. The solar wind brings something else: a giant magnetic field. When part of the field grazes the planet, it can attract ions and launch them out into space.

Another part might fling ions right into the atmosphere at up to a thousand kilometers per second. The ions crash into other molecules, sending them in all directions like balls in a game of pool. Over billions of years, this process could have literally stripped Mars of its atmosphere, especially in the early life of the solar system when the solar wind was more intense than it is today.

Sputtering has actually been spotted directly on another dead planet, Venus. The Venus Express mission found that solar winds are steadily stripping off lighter molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. They escape the planet on the night side... then ride solar breezes on out into space.

This process has left Venus with an atmosphere dominated by carbon dioxide gas... a heat trapping compound that has helped send surface temperatures up to around 400 degrees Celsius. The loss of Venus' atmosphere likely took place over millions of years, especially during solar outbursts known as coronal mass ejections.

If these massive blast waves stripped Venus and Mars of an atmosphere capable of supporting life how did Earth avoid the same grim fate? We can see the answer as the solar storm approaches earth. Our planet has what Mars and Venus lack - a powerful magnetic field generated deep within its core.

This protective shield deflects many of the high-energy particles launched by the Sun. In fact, that's just our first line of defense. Much of the solar energy that gets through is reflected back to space by clouds, ice, and snow.

The energy that earth absorbs is just enough to power a remarkable planetary engine: the climate. It's set in motion by the uneveness of solar heating, due in part to the cycles of day and night, and the seasons. That causes warm, tropical winds to blow toward the poles, and cold polar air toward the equator.

Wind currents drive surface ocean currents. This computer simulation shows the Gulf Stream winding its way along the coast of North America. This great ocean river carries enough heat energy to power the industrial world a hundred times over.

It breaks down in massive whirlpools that spread warm tropical waters over northern seas. Below the surface, they mix with cold deep currents that swirl around undersea ledges and mountains. Earth's climate engine has countless moving parts: tides and terrain, cross winds and currents -- all working to equalize temperatures around the globe.

Over time, earth developed a carbon cycle and an effective means of regulating green house gases. In our galaxy, are still-born worlds like Mars the norm? Or in Earth, has Nature crafted a prototype for its greatest experiment... Life?

Why Mars Died and Earth Lived? (Animated Infographic 2018)


The Red Planet!

That’s how we know it. Mars has a lot to do with our myths about aliens and gods and questions like “does life exist on Mars?” or “has it ever been a habitable environment?”

4 billion years ago, when the first known life formed on earth, Mars was much similar to the conditions on earth. It had lakes and streams and a thick atmosphere.

But Today, The surface of the planet mars, is dry, dusty, rocky and cold. What made earth so special and what stopped life from evolving on Mars?

On this video we are trying to find answers to these questions.

When it comes to the existence of life, the basic requirement or the key is liquid water and a hospitable atmosphere that can control the temperature so the water won’t evaporate or freeze.

4 Billion years ago Mars has had a thicker atmosphere which protected it’s surface from sun’s harmful rays and kept it warm.
Mars is approximately half the size of planet earth and gravity is 38% of earth’s gravity.

Because of light gravity and lack of global magnetic field, Mars as a planet had less control over its atmosphere.

With the constant flow of solar wind, lighter molecules were stripped out from the atmosphere of Mars.

That made it thinner and let ultraviolet radiation in which took away some of the liquid water into the atmosphere.

As a result of the atmosphere thinning, the heat trapping level was decreased.

This decreased Mars’s temperature and today it never passes the limit of 20 C… and it decreases down to -125C at night time. This doesn’t seem like hospitable at all. Right?

Because of this low temperature liquid water on the polar ends got frozen.

At the same time, due to the high capacity of the rocks on Mars to hold water, the surface started absorbing the remaining liquid water more quickly.

So…. That’s why life didn’t evolve on mars while earth’s life developed in to very complex multi organisms.




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NASA declares Opportunity rover dead after 15 years on Mars

It's the space rover that's been credited with transforming our understanding of Mars but NASA has declared its veteran explorer 'Opportunity' is now officially dead.

It was built in just 90 days but went on to live for 14 years.

Its last contact with earth was eight months ago after it was silenced by a global dust storm.

Sky's US correspondent Greg Milam reports.

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NASA says goodbye to Mars rover Opportunity after 15 years

NASA lost contact with the robot in a massive dust storm last June and finally declared an end to its operational lifetime.

Read the CNET article: NASA Mars rover Opportunity, resilient Red Planet explorer, officially dead

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Opportunity: NASA Rover Completes Mars Mission

Drive along with the NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover and hear the voices of scientists and engineers behind the mission. Designed to run for 90 days, the exploration spanned more than 15 years from 2004 to 2019. Along the way, it discovered definitive proof of liquid water on ancient Mars and set the off-world driving record. For more information on the Mars Exploration Rovers and all of NASA’s Mars missions, visit

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Curious Life of a Mars Rover | Nat Geo Live

Having helped design the Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, NASA engineer Kobie Boykins reveals what these robots are telling us about the existence of life on the red planet.
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Search for Life on Mars

In this 6th session of the internet-based live lectures between Universities and Institutes, Dr Jorge Vago discusses missions to Mars and in particular the European mission ExoMars. ExoMars's scientific objectives are: 1) To search for signs of past and present life; 2) To identify surface hazards to future human missions; and 3) To characterise, in the shallow subsurface, the vertical distribution profile for water and geochemical composition. ExoMars will deploy a high-mobility rover on the Martian surface, carrying a comprehensive suite of analytical instruments dedicated to exobiology, geochemistry, and environmental research. Over its planned 6-month lifetime, the rover will travel a few tens of kilometres searching for traces of past and present signs of life.

WATCH LIVE: NASA launches InSight Lander to Mars

InSight is scheduled to launch May 5 at 7:05 a.m. ET Watch the event in the stream above.

Before sunrise on Saturday morning, a NASA rocket is scheduled to lift off from a California launchpad with an interplanetary spacecraft aboard and set forth on a six-month journey to Mars to study the guts of the Red Planet.

InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will be the first lander or rover bound for Mars since Curiosity launched in 2011. It will also be the first to dig deep into the planet’s interior in an effort to understand how the planet’s geology evolved over billions of years. The probe will scan for seismic activity, keeping tabs on the planet’s so-called “marsquakes.”

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Mars Methane - Could It Mean Life? | Video

Part of Curiosity's Martian mission is to determine if methane is still being created on Mars. It might be tectonic activity deep underground, but it's also possible that something living beneath the martian surface could be creating the gas.

Measuring Mars' Atmospheric Loss

A Nov. 5 NASA science update highlighted data from NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission that has determined the present rate at which Mars' atmosphere is losing gas to space, via stripping by the solar wind. This loss of gas to space appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet we see today.

New ice discovered on Mars

Researchers have located newly discovered ice on Mars. Water from ice believed to be pure enough for humans to drink

Swimming in Martian Lakes: Curiosity at Gale Crater

As primitive life was becoming established on Earth, Gale Crater on Mars was a shallow lake filled with drinkable water and brimming with all of the chemical ingredients necessary for life to form. NASA's Scott Guzewich discusses the five-year effort to explore the remnants of this lake with the Curiosity rover. For the first time in the history of space exploration, we are directly studying an environment that was once habitable for life as we know it. The story of Gale Crater tells us how Mars has changed and whether life may be common in the universe.

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NASA | Measuring Mars' Ancient Ocean

For decades, planetary scientists have suspected that ancient Mars was a much warmer, wetter environment than it is today, but estimates of just how much water Mars has lost since its formation vary widely. Now, new isotopic measurements by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center reveal that an ocean once covered approximately twenty percent of the Martian surface. This new picture of early Mars is considerably wetter than many previous estimates, raising the odds for the ancient habitability of the Red Planet.

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Mars rover declared dead after 15 years

NASA’s longest-running rover on Mars, Opportunity, is no more. Officials declared the 15-year-old rover Opportunity dead Wednesday, eight months after by a ferocious dust storm in June. (Feb. 13)

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Man on Mars?NASA's Maven spacecraft explores the possibility

The Nasa Maven spacecraft is expected to complete a 10-month voyage to Mars on Sunday. Once in orbit, NASA scientists will gather information about the Red Planet’s atmosphere. Information that will hopefully offer clues about Earth’s climate and the future possibility of man landing on Mars. The NewsHour’s Miles O’Brien talks about the mission’s significance with Hari Sreenivasan.

NASA wants people on Mars within 25 years

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Life on Earth - and Mars?

The discovery of a piece of geyserite found in a hot springs environment has changed our thinking about the origins of life on earth - and has implications for the search for life on Mars.

Fossils discovered by UNSW scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known existence of microbial life on land.

Previously, the world’s oldest evidence for microbial life on land came from 2.7- 2.9 billion-year-old deposits in South Africa containing organic matter-rich ancient soils.

The findings don't just extend back the record of life living in hot springs by 3 billion years, they indicate that life was inhabiting the land much earlier than previously thought, by up to about 580 million years, says study first author, UNSW PhD candidate, Tara Djokic.

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Mars: Death of a Planet

This is the story of a discovery made on St. Patrick's Day, 2015. We learned just how much Mars is at the mercy of our sun. During a solar outburst that hit Mars that day, the NASA spacecraft Maven measured an accelerated loss of molecules in its upper atmosphere.

In its early days, Mars appears to have had enough surface water to cover the entire planet to a depth of 140 meters, and an atmosphere that was thick enough to hold it there. But a more active sun in those days began a long slow process of steadily eroding the Martian air and sending it out into space. The water dried up, and whatever life forms had developed had no chance to thrive and evolve on the surface.

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Why Mars dies and Earth lived (Sinhala Animated Infographic)

Mars has been a curious planet from earlier age. 4 billion years ago Mars and Earth had the same conditions on the surfaces..... but life never evolved on Mars (as known for today).... We'll try to find answers for it!


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