Mars has been found to be getting colder with time and, at the same time, it is also turning into arid land. The surface water on Mars is found to have no difference from that observed on Earth. The Martian atmosphere is found to be thin now but was considered to be thick to preserve heat. It was this heat that helped water remain in liquid form on the surface. This liquid water is found to be the source of life. The scientists are studying Mars’ earlier atmosphere in order to know about its composition, atmosphere thickness, and its duration.
The oxygen isotopes were found to help understand the thickness of ancient atmosphere. The oxygen was found to have different mass and neutron previously. The heavier isotopes remained in the atmosphere whereas the rest were lost into space. Mars has 18O isotope that is heavier compared to the 16O isotope found Earth. The change in ratio could help better understand the atmosphere of Mars. The measurement of the ratio of various elements in the atmosphere helped model Mars’ atmosphere that has evolved over the years. The atmospheric loss happened over a period of time and it is currently being researched on by the scientists.
Similarly, the presence of methane in the Mars atmosphere is being scrutinized and the researchers have found it to be generated through both geological and biological routes. It was detected in 2003 for the very first time and since then, the study on the source of gas and its possibilities in helping flourish life on the planet is going on. The Newcastle University researchers have ruled out the possibility of wind erosion being the primary cause of methane gas release on Mars. The data obtained earlier have helped researchers understand that the rate of erosion is high enough to bring out sand movement and pose less likely in releasing methane.