Martian meteorites are really from Mars

Washington, Oct 17 : Mars rover Curiosity has just proven that Martian meteorites are really from the Red Planet.

A key new measurement of Mars' atmosphere by NASA's Curiosity rover provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origins of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origins of other meteorites.

The new measurement is a high-precision count of two forms of argon gas -- argon-36 and argon-38 -- accomplished by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on Curiosity.

These lighter and heavier forms, or isotopes, of argon exist naturally throughout the solar system.

But on Mars the ratio of light to heavy argon is skewed because a lot of that planet's original atmosphere was lost to space, with the lighter form of argon being taken away more readily because it rises to the top of the atmosphere more easily and requires less energy to escape.

That's left the Martian atmosphere relatively enriched in the heavier argon-38.

Years of past analyzes by Earth-bound scientists of gas bubbles trapped inside Martian meteorites had already narrowed the Martian argon ratio to between 3.6 and 4.5 (that is 3.6 to 4.5 atoms of argon-36 to every one argon-38) with the supposed Martian "atmospheric" value near four.

Measurements by NASA's Viking landers in the 1970's put the Martian atmospheric ratio in the range of four to seven.

The new SAM direct measurement on Mars now pins down the correct argon ratio at 4.2.

The findings are published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

--ANI (Posted on 17-10-2013)

technology-news headlines

Internal body clock puzzle solved

Unearthed! Tilting planets can harbour life too

Infant hair reveals life inside the womb!

Now, 'second skin' that prevents dangerous sores in amputees

2014's first total lunar eclipse to create 'blood moon'

How black holes swallow stars

Asian air pollution affecting Northern Hemisphere's weather patterns

Now, bluetooth enabled footwear to help joggers from getting lost

Mars' atmosphere analyzing sensor could help cut Earth's greenhouse emissions

How flesh-eating bacteria exploded into epidemic

Birth of a baby moon on Saturn?

Robot sex to determine how life began!

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014


Your e-mail:

Your Full Name:

Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box


Back to Top