5 Biggest Mysteries of Planet Mars, Becoming Questions for Scientists
Illustration of water on the surface of ancient Mars
Netgenz - Sains | Mars has been recognized by human civilization since the last millennium. The ancient Sumerians viewed this planet as Nergal, a representation of the god of war and pandemics. While the citizens of Ancient China have a call to Mars, namely the Star of Fire.
Around the 17th century, Mars began to be the subject of serious dialogue in astronomy groups. At that time optical telescopes had been developed for celestial assessment. One of them astronomer, Christian Huygens, made the first map of the land of Mars. "Is that channel an alien construction?" or "Are their aliens on Mars?" are two of the questions that have existed since then.
Despite how many eras have ended, many questions and mystique are surrounding the planet Mars. Here's one of them.
1. Will a mountain explode on Mars?
Planets like Earth have enough mass and size to make their mantle structure drip into a sea of magma. This hot liquid then creates tectonic oscillations along the surface and is responsible for volcanic eruptions.
Here, researchers suspect that a planet the size of Mars might have a similar state. However, after sending dozens of complete robots with great instruments, researchers still can't confirm that the planet Mars, at least in the past, had volcanoes.
However, research published this year by NASA suggests that the planet once had volcanoes. About 4 billion years ago, there was a continuous volcanic eruption for several hundred million years. Martian volcanoes have been spewing volcanic ash and larvae for several hundred million years non-stop.
How do researchers know this? When a volcano explodes violently, it loses its shape and leaves a crater which is commonly called a caldera.
One of the craters on Mars is the caldera of the volcano. Initially, it was generally believed that the craters were the result of a meteor strike. But researchers have found new evidence that the contours are unusual and unlikely to have been caused by meteors.
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2. Did an earthquake (marsquake) occur on Mars?
Generally earthquakes on Earth occur due to straight tectonic friction and Mars does not have that arrangement in its layers. But apparently, researchers believe that there was also an earthquake or what is said to be a marsquake. Generally caused by several small ratio volcanic phenomena.
The first batch of robots sent to Mars such as Viking 2 had a seismograph to detect earthquakes. But one thing or another -- including the Martian wind -- has kept the results from being so convincing.
After that, InSight Lander was launched. This is one of the latest robots sent by NASA to Mars. The uniqueness of this lander is that it is equipped with a seismograph embedded into the ground and covered by a dome to protect it from wind vibrations.
Since its landing on the Red Planet, InSight has detected several hundred vibrations. Four of them are above 3 SR, which is quite large. This earthquake data will be used by researchers to study the composition of the red planet's mantle and tree.
3. Where does the water on Mars go?
Researchers believe that billions of years ago, the surface of Mars was filled with liquid water. One of the guidelines that researchers use is that there are geographical features such as rivers, one of which is Osuga Valles, Mars. Although several lines of researchers believe that the channel's shape could also be due to the rolling of gravel, the thesis of ancient Mars having water is widely accepted by research groups.
NASA researchers in 2016 revealed that the planet once had more water than the seawater in the Arctic ocean. No kidding, the ancient Martian sea can even cover half the surface of the plain. But why is Mars today so barren? Many bets are backed by scientific evidence.
First, the planet's water may evaporate into space. Ancient Mars had a magnetic field to protect the planet from solar radiation. When the magnetic field disappears due to the principal activity of the planet, the protection also disappears. This makes the Martian atmosphere thin and easily blown by the solar wind. The atmosphere is also blown outward and the same is the water above the planet.
The other answers take the form not against the first argument, but as a companion. Thus, as water evaporates with the thin atmosphere, some of the others seep into the soil and rocks. Researchers modeled starting from 30-99% of the Martian water that had flowed, vanishing from the surface with this step.
4. What was Mars' atmosphere like in the past?
Planets have evolution. Starting from the surface of the land, the interior to the temperature. The atmosphere of Mars today is very different from what it used to be. The former atmosphere of Mars was thick enough to maintain a constant temperature and maintain liquid water.
Billions of years ago, Mars lost its magnetic field which made it lose its protection from the solar wind. This event then slowly swept the Martian atmosphere until some constituent particles and water were thrown into space.
This makes the Martian atmosphere thinner and loses its ideal emphasis. A constant temperature is difficult to achieve in a thin atmosphere. Too hot during the day and too cold at night.
5. Is there life on Mars?
When we talk about living things outside the Earth, there are two types of living things that are defined. First, is a smart civilization like humans. Living things here can use technology and explore available energy sources
In the past, there was a thought that there was an alien Mars (commonly called Martian) who made a giant channel there and said war with Earth. But all of this has been refuted with optical telescopes and Mars satellites, which can capture brighter images above the planet.
The question that remains is whether simple, single-celled organisms live among the Martian rocks. All robots, especially the rover brought to Mars have the vision to answer this question. Each of them is also equipped with a great instrument to check for the presence of bacteria.
But after this decade of exploration bring researchers to a 50:50 summary. Researchers still don't have enough evidence to confirm that there is life on the barren lands of Mars, but they also lack evidence to confirm that there is no life. In science, evidence is needed to show the two theses. The absence of evidence does not mean it does not exist.
In the end, this search effort raises more questions than answers the existing question. In decades, even centuries, the presence of aliens is still the biggest question that humans have, whether on Mars, other planets, or even other galaxies.