Once upon a time on Mars could be a life — evidenced by a new study conducted by the space Agency NASA. It involved information on the composition of Martian soil collected by the Rover “Curiosity“and laboratory simulation of the ancient atmosphere of the red planet. In the experiment, the scientists found that saturated hydrogen atmosphere of Mars could interact with burning asteroids and to engender the key elements of life — nitrogen compounds, or nitrates.
Active forms of nitrogen are indeed an important part of life. Without them there can be proteins, nucleic acids and other organic compounds that are very important for even the most simple organisms. These important elements were found by the device “Curiosity” while studying the soil of the Martian Gale crater. Scientists have raised the question: how did they get there?
To find the answer to this question, a team headed by Professor Rafael Navarro-gonzález conducted a laboratory experiment. For a start, she recreated the early Martian atmosphere by placing the gas mixture of hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the flask. The team then simulated a shock wave produced by the asteroid when it hit the atmosphere — it used pulses of infrared laser light. To the great surprise of scientists, subsequently, this reaction really formed a vital nitrates.
Researchers were especially surprised that the more hydrogen contained in a simulated atmosphere, the more nitrates were formed. It was illogical, as the hydrogen reduces the concentration of oxygen, which, in turn, is important for formation of nitrates. According to planetary geochemist Jennifer stern, the presence of hydrogen in the atmosphere of ancient Mars could be important not only for sustaining life but for maintaining a proper surface temperature of the planet and conserve water in liquid form.
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