What if meteorite shards unravel the mysteries surrounding the formation of the Red Planet? Pieces of the Martian crust, discovered in 1984 in Antarctica and in 2012 in North Africa, are currently being studied by scientist Jessica Barnes, of the University of Arizona, in the United States, reports Sciences and Future.
These fragments include information about the abundance of water that was on the surface of Mars more than 3.5 billion years ago, the magazine said.
“Understanding the history of the water of Mars”
“Many people have tried to understand the history of the water of Mars,” says Jessica Barnes in the newspaper. Nature Geoscience who relays the results of his study. “Where did it come from? What can she tell us about the formation and evolution of Mars? ”
The study of these two meteorites allows to know a little more. It appears that these fragments are very different in their composition in hydrogen atoms, suggesting that there were at least two reservoirs of water on the Red Planet, the content of which comes from two separate sources.
“The assumption that prevailed before starting this work was that the interior of Mars was more like Earth,” says Jessica Barnes.
Struck by planetesimals?
But now scientists put forward a completely different theory: two small planets, made up of water sources, would have struck Mars in its youth and their content would have integrated into its planetary mantle. Several sources are therefore believed to be the source of the water that covered almost the entire northern hemisphere billions of years ago, and which is found in smaller quantities today.
This is in line with the conclusions of another recent study according to which, “at the beginning of its formation, the planet Mars had been struck by 1 to 3 planetesimals which contributed to its mass and its content in different elements”, explains the specialized magazine .