Scientific evidence indicate that Mars used to have more habitable conditions. Observations and modeling efforts show that atmospheric escape has adversely affected Mars’ habitability primarily by irreversibly diminishing the atmospheric water reservoir through loss of atomic oxygen and hydrogen into space. In the context habitability of Mars, the connection between dust storms, atmospheric (gravity) waves, and atmospheric water has been poorly explored. Wave propagation and dissipation can produce local density and temperature fluctuations; gravity-wave momentum and energy deposition can substantially change the background atmospheric temperature, which is a key parameter in thermal escape. During global dust storms gravity waves encounter favorable propagation conditions from the lower atmosphere to the thermosphere, where they can further modulate water escape into space. Future coincident coordinated observations are required to constrain models and wave activity, and to help characterize the whole atmosphere distribution of water and its constituents.
From: Yiğit (2021), Martian water escape and internal waves, Science, 374, 6573, DOI: 10.1126/science.abg5893. Reprinted with permission from AAAS.
Yiğit (2021), Martian water escape and internal waves, Science, 374, 6573, DOI: 10.1126/science.abg5893