Mars habitability limited by its small size, isotope study suggests
- Published: Friday, 24 September 2021 13:56
Water is essential for life on Earth and other planets, and scientists have found ample evidence of water in Mars' early history. But Mars has no liquid water on its surface today. New research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests a fundamental reason: Mars may be just too small to hold onto large amounts of water.
Remote sensing studies and analyses of Martian meteorites dating back to the 1980s posit that Mars was once water-rich, compared with Earth. NASA's Viking orbiter spacecraft -- and, more recently, the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers on the ground -- returned dramatic images of Martian landscapes marked by river valleys and flood channels.