Mars continues to be a box of surprises and has little or nothing is known about the past of our planet. However, according to new research, these asteroids in the past, Mars may have made the necessary ingredients for life, when the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen.
The study data rover Curiosity NASA and was conducted by researchers in the instrument commands were used SAM (Sample Anaylsis Mars) out of curiosity.
Life on Mars was a "close call"
Researchers team Curiosityem SAM instrument of cooperation with several international colleagues conducted a new study. According to an asteroid impact on ancient Mars They took the basic ingredients for life, These key ingredients nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-).
Thus, they & # 39 is an important form of fixed nitrogen for the creation and sustainability of life as we know it. Thus, the Curiosity probe found these elements in soil and rock samples to cross the Gale Crater, site ancient lakes and groundwater system on Mars.
hydrogen-rich atmosphere could make the difference
To understand how the fixed nitrogen may have been deposited in the crater, scientists need to restore the primitive atmosphere of Mars on Earth. Thus, the study led by Dr. Rafael Navarro-González and his team of scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Sciences of the Autonomous National University of Mexico in Mexico City, used a combination of theoretical models and experimental data for the study of the role of hydrogen change in nitrite and nitrate nitrogen using asteroids energy. The article was published in the January Journal Journal of Geophysical Research Planets.
In the laboratory, a group of laser pulses used to simulate high-energy shock waves generated asteroids that collide with the atmosphere. Thus, pulses were concentrated to a flask containing a mixture gas of hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, which is a primitive Mars. After laser pulses obtained mixture was analyzed to determine the amount of nitrate formed. The results were at least enough.
The big surprise was that the amount of nitrate increased when hydrogen was included in the experiments simulating the asteroids. This is counterintuitive, since hydrogen leads to an environment with a low oxygen content, whereas the formation of nitrate require oxygen. Nevertheless, the presence of hydrogen led to a more rapid cooling of the heated gas by the stopper shock nitric oxide, nitrate precursor at elevated temperatures, when the amount produced was highest.
Modeling with a very realistic scenarios
Despite the fact that the experiments were conducted under controlled laboratory conditions, millions of kilometers of the Red Planet, scientists wanted to simulate Curiosity results using the SAM tool. Thus, the CAM collects drilled rock samples taken from the surface or by a mechanical arm and rover "cooking" them to investigate the chemical fingerprints of liberated gases.
SAM on board the Curiosity was the first instrument for the detection of nitrates on Mars. Because of the low levels of nitrogen gas in the atmosphere, nitrate with the & # 39; is the only biologically useful form of nitrogen in Mars. Thus, their presence on the ground is very important to astrobiology. This scientific article will help us to understand the possible sources of nitrates.
Said Christopher McKay, co-author of the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley article in the American state of California.
Why hydrogen effects are so exciting?
Although the surface of Mars is now cold and strong, scientists believe that the thicker atmosphere, enriched by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, may warm the planet in the past. Some models show that might need to add hydrogen to the atmosphere in order to raise the temperature to be enough liquid water to the surface.
The presence of larger amounts of hydrogen as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is interesting as climate history Mars and its habitability. If we have a relationship between two good things to habitability – potentially warmer climate with liquid water on the surface and increase the production of nitrates, which are essential for life – it's very interesting. The results of this study suggest that these two items that are essential for life, fit together and reinforce each other's presence.
He added Jennifer stubble, planetary geochemical Space Flight Center of NASA Goddard and coinvestigadora research.
Even if the composition of the early atmosphere of Mars is a mystery, these results may give more things to solve the climate puzzle.