It has long been theorized that there was once water on Mars, and a new study claims that it has found the explanation on where it all went.
Mars might no longer have oceans and other bodies of water, but according to researchers, the water that used to be on the surface of the Red Planet is still there somewhere.
Water On Mars Absorbed By Rocks
In a study published in Nature, a team of scientists, helmed by Jon Wade, a geologist at the University of Oxford in England and the lead author of the study, claimed that the water that was once on the surface of Mars was sucked up by the planet itself.
Wade's co-authors on the study are James D. P. Moore from Nanyang Technological University's Earth Observatory of Singapore, Brendan Dyck from the University of Cambridge's Department of Earth Sciences, Richard M. Palin from Colorado School of Mines' Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, and Andrew J. Smye from Pennsylvania State University's Department of Geosciences.
Previous research in tracing where all the Martian water went to suggested that most of it was lost to space when the magnetic field of the planet collapsed. The water on Mars was also said to have been trapped as ice underneath the planet's surface and carried off by intense solar winds.
However, even after taking into account all these possibilities, there is still a portion of the believed original water on Mars that remains missing.
The team behind the new research claim to have found out where the rest of the water on Mars went. They modeled how water interacted with the lava of ancient Earth and Mars and concluded that the reactions on the Red Planet resulted in a mantle that is over twice as iron-rich as that of the Earth.
"Because there's more iron in the Martian mantle than the Earth's mantle, that would make it more prone to reacting with water," said Wade. The higher levels of iron in the mantle of Mars meant more reactions that used up all the water.
Life On Mars
President Donald Trump said earlier this month that he wanted to send NASA astronauts back up to space to visit the moon and then to Mars afterward. Trump wishes for the United States to remain the leader in space exploration, but it is unclear if these missions will indeed push through.
Scientists, meanwhile, have been working on the possibility of humans colonizing Mars. Researchers working on a sustainable agricultural system that can feed people living on Mars recently had a breakthrough when two earthworms were born in Mars-like soil.
Of course, there are those who believe that there are other civilizations who once lived, or perhaps are still living, in Mars. UFO hunter Scott C. Waring, for example, believes that a mysterious item spotted on the planet's surface is a Mars cannonball, proving an ancient war happened on the Red Planet.