The discovery of water frost on Mars volcanoes in the first “important” discovery: a study

Researchers say the frost patches are equivalent to “60 Olympic swimming pools.”

Planetary researchers announced a major discovery from the solar system’s red planet on Monday, as patches of water frost equivalent to “60 Olympic-sized swimming pools” were discovered on Mars.

Thin, diffuse layers of water frost have been discovered above three of Mars’ Tharsis volcanoes, which sit on a plateau at the planet’s equator, according to a new study published in the journal. Natural earth sciences.

The Tharsis volcanoes, a chain of 12 large peaks, are the tallest volcanoes in our solar system, according to the study, which notes that water frost has been detected on the volcanoes Olympus, Arsia Askrios Mons, and Ceronius Tholos.

Researchers from Brown University stated in a report that, “Researchers calculate that frost constitutes no less than 150,000 tons of water that is exchanged between the surface and the atmosphere every day during the cold seasons.” press release “This is equivalent to about 60 Olympic swimming pools,” he added on Monday.

The European Space Agency’s ExoMars and Mars Express missions orbiting the planet captured more than 30,000 images of water frost, which were then analyzed by a team of international researchers, according to the study.

The researchers discovered that the thin layer of frost — about “one-hundredth of a millimeter or about the width of a human hair,” according to the study — forms during sunrise and then evaporates during daylight hours.

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“We thought it was unlikely that frost would form around the Martian equator, as the combination of sunlight and the thin atmosphere keeps temperatures relatively high during the day on both the surface and the mountaintop — unlike what we see on Earth, where you might expect to see it,” said Adomas Valentinas. “Lukewarm peaks,” a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University who led the study, said in a press release.

“What we are seeing may be the remnants of an ancient climate cycle on modern Mars, where there was rainfall and perhaps even snowfall on these volcanoes in the past,” Valentinas said.

According to the study, the water frost is located in volcanic calderas, which are huge depressions at the top of the summit formed after past eruptions.

The researchers hypothesize that the air circulating over the caldera creates a “unique microclimate that allows thin patches of frost to form.”

These findings challenge scientists’ previous understanding of the climate of Mars, and provide an exciting avenue for further exploration of Mars, according to the researchers.

“The idea of ​​a second formation of extraterrestrial life has always fascinated me,” said Valentinas, who began analyzing the images in 2018.

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