There is no doubt. Mars is now cold and dry. However there is plenty of evidence to show that flowing water was once abundant on Earth’s brother. And since there is life where there is water, the search for the history of water on Mars is a search for extraterrestrial life. If life did once exist, then it is not a large step to think it still might be hiding out.
Clearly there remains a lot unknown about how Mats could have lost water, and how much liquid water might remain in underground reservoirs. One way to solve these mysteries is to analyze the kinds of water molecules in the Martian atmosphere. In this new study, they two different types of water to help solve this riddle.
By studying the current ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in Martian water, we have now estimated how much total water the Red Planet used to have. They constructed new maps of the ratio between hydrogen and deuterium in the water in the Martian atmosphere using data gathered from 2008 to 2014 by the Very Large Telescope in Chile, and the Keck Observatory and NASA’s InfraRed Telescope Facility in Hawaii.They found the ratio between deuterated water and normal water in some regions of Mars was higher than thought, typically seven times higher than in Earth’s oceans. This high ratio suggests that Mars has lost a great deal of water over time.
One more step along the path to understanding our brother planet.