Apr 11, 2017 06:10 PM EDT
In their earlier studies, scientists already found the evidence of massive volcanic craters on Mars. The Olympus Mons that is one of the largest volcanoes on Mars, is three times higher than Mt. Everest. However, it is just one among the several volcanoes that adorn the Red Planet’s famous Tharsis Ridge.
In a recent study, scientists explained that a huge amount of carbon monoxide, sulfur, and other greenhouse gasses were emitted during the volcanic eruption. A paper published in Icarus journal describes those gasses influenced the Mars to create an atmosphere that could be habitable for some ancient microbes.
Although, there was no evidence of Oxygen(O2) at Mars but still lots of microorganisms actually exist that can survive in an anoxic environment. University of Washington’s Ph.D. candidate in earth and space sciences and astrobiology, and lead author of this study Stephen Sholes said,“This is important from an astrobiology standpoint because these reducing anoxic conditions have been hypothesized as being important to the origin of life on the early Earth”.
Back in 1950s Stanley Miller and Harold Urey made an experiment that showed, in an environment with a reducing atmosphere and liquid water, electrical pulses can produce more complex organic molecules. Seeker reported that the molecules could be oxidized by the oxidizing atmosphere that is less useful for life formations on Mars.
Sholes also explained that scientists have been discussing volcanism on the Mars for decades but his work was to quantify how much volcanism is required to create reducing atmospheres on this red planet. Even billions of years later scientists still can see the evidence of the anoxic atmosphere on the ground.
Currently, two martian missions are ongoing to investigate the atmosphere. First one is conducted by NASA that is known as Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution(MAVEN). Its main task is to examine atmospheric loss. The second one is conducted by ESA, named Trace Gas Orbiter(TGO) to look into the minority molecules in Mars. However, the latest mission would not help to learn directly about past volcanic activity but the measurements will help to create atmospheric models.
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