Scientists decode how mars may have lost Its atmosphere. Solar winds may have led to Mars losing its atmosphere, consistent with a simulation study that confirms the long-held belief that planets need a protective magnetic flux to dam such harmful radiations so as to sustain life.
While factors just like the existence of a moderately warm, moist atmosphere and liquid water determine whether a planet can host life, the study, published within the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, noted that the facility of planets to urge magnetic fields around them is an overlooked aspect.
According to the scientists, Arnab Basak and Dibyendu Nandi from the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, these magnetic fields enveloping planets can act as sort of a protective umbrella, shielding the atmosphere from the super-fast plasma winds of the Sun.
On the world, they said a geo-dynamo mechanism generates the planet’s protective magnetosphere — an invisible shield that stops the solar radiation from eroding away our atmosphere.
In the current study, the scientists simulated two scenarios of Mars — one considering a young Mars with its magnetosphere intact, and therefore the other with the earth without this field.
The simulations revealed that within the young Mars, the magnetosphere may have acted as a shield stopping the solar radiation from coming too on the brink of the planet’s atmosphere thus protecting it.
Without an intrinsic magnetosphere, the researchers said the solar radiation magnetic flux may have first draped around, and slipped past Mars, carrying bits of the planet’s atmosphere away, eventually eroding it completely.
They said the findings confirm the assumption that the magnetospheres around planets play an important role in determining their ability to sustain life.
Alternatively, planets that lose their magnetic flux eventually become inhospitable with the loss of their atmosphere, the scientists added.
The researchers believe the study has important implications for the design for habitable exoplanets via initiatives like NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and ISRO’s ExoWorlds mission.