Dust storms are something often on Mars, and because of this phenomena, even a NASA’s rover has been defeated. New research says that the dust storm could have blown the water from the planet. Opportunity rover was on Mars since 2004, but in May 2018, a dust storm blocked the sunlight way, and the vehicle couldn’t recharge its batteries. The problem is that this had happened for a week. So, NASA has declared the rover dead this February.
What Could a Dust Storm Produce?
On other occasions, the dust has transformed into a global monster and has covered Mars with a cloak of dust. Of course, these weren’t the first dust storms on Mars. NASA has observed them in 1971, 1977, 1982, 1994, 2001, and 2007(Opportunity and Spirit had survived this storm). With this information, scientists believe that dry conditions and winds could have led to a lack of water.
However, after many evidence found by Opportunity, Spirit, and Curiosity, it is believed that Mars had lots of liquid water on its surface, somewhere around 20% of the planet’s surface. But this is a story from billion years ago because Mars had changed due to its global magnetic field about 4 million years ago. The problem is that Mars doesn’t have a protective barrier anymore and had lost the ability to support water on its surface.
Dust Storms on Mars Might Be the Cause for the Water Lack On The Red Planet
For supporting the theory, scientists have used the European-Russian ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) to analyze the water vapors on the planet before and after the event from 2018. The data from TGO shows that the dust storms are throwing water molecules of about 80 km above the ground where the air is very thin. So from there, the water molecules are breaking apart into hydrogen and oxygen.
Finally, the TGO was the one that reported no signs of methane on Mars’s atmosphere opposite to the discovery made by Curiosity. This information is a little bit confusing, because Mars is producing gas, and this must show a biological activity on the planet. Since 2018, researchers are studying Mars dust storms, and they are preparing for these events when a vehicle is on the surface of the planet.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.