Martian spy satellite found that the overall composition of the atmosphere on Mars is undergoing a sea change as the angle of inclination of the axis shift of the planet. This process can affect the stability of liquid water in the event that it exists on Mars and increase the frequency and strength of dust storms on the planet.
With the aid of radar, able to penetrate the upper layers of the surface, the researchers found large deposits of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice at the south pole of the Red Planet. Scientists suggest that during the change of the angle of inclination of the axis of the planet, this carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and expands it. The study was published this week in the journal Science.
Point of deposits in terms comparable to Lake Superior (about 12,000 cubic kilometers). Total there are up to 80% of carbon dioxide throughout the modern atmosphere of Mars.
"We were already aware of the existence of a small year-round ice caps of carbon dioxide, the overlying water ice, but discovered deposits of the dry ice is 30 times higher than the preliminary estimates," - said Roger Phillies Sautvestskogo of the Research Institute in Boulder. Phyllis leads a team of radar satellite and is the lead author of the published article.
"If we assume that these deposits, then on Mars now, half of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and half frozen, but at other times, this ratio may change, and carbon dioxide can be completely frozen or completely move into the atmosphere," - said the Phillies.
Periodic increase in mass of the atmosphere, will lead to increased winds, which could raise more dust than due to more frequent and more intense dust storms. Another effect of this change will be the expansion of the area of the planet, where liquid water could exist without boiling. Existing models of known changes inclination of the axis of Mars, allow the change in the total mass of the atmosphere of the Red Planet in a few times over a period of 100,000 years or less.
"The change in slope, leading to an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the greenhouse effect, which results in heating the Martian surface, and the more long-lived polar ice cooled it," - said co-author Robert Haberl, of NASA research center in California. "Our computer simulations have shown that the polar ice caps cool more than the heated greenhouse gases. Unlike Earth, where a thick layer of moist atmosphere generates a strong greenhouse effect, thin and dry atmosphere of Mars is not capable of as much heat the planet, even in the case of doubling content carbon dioxide. "