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Mars atmosphere well protected from solar windPhoto source: Thinkstock

Mars atmosphere well protected from solar wind

09 Dec 2017 | 3:51 PM

LONDON: The Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind, despite the absence of an Earth-like magnetic dipole, a study has found.

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London

The Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind, despite the absence of an Earth-like magnetic dipole, a study has found.

Present-day Mars is a cold and dry planet with less than one per of Earth's atmospheric pressure at the surface.

However many geological features indicate the planet had an active hydrological cycle about 3-4 billion years ago.

An active hydrological cycle would have required a warmer climate in the planet's early history and therefore a thicker atmosphere, one capable of creating a strong greenhouse effect.

A common hypothesis maintains that the solar wind over time has eroded the early Martian atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect, and thus the hydrological cycle, to collapse.

Unlike Earth, Mars has no global magnetic dipole, but the solar wind instead induces currents in the ionised upper atmosphere, creating an induced magnetosphere.

"It has long been thought that this induced magnetosphere is insufficient to protect the Martian atmosphere," said Robin Ramstad from Umea University in Sweden.

"However our measurements show something different," Ramstad said.

Researchers using measurements from the Swedish particle instrument ASPERA-3 on the Mars Express spacecraft.

The spacecraft has been measuring the ion escape from Mars since 2004. Researchers combined and compared measurements of the ion escape under varying solar wind conditions and levels of ionising solar radiation, so-called extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation.

The results show that the solar wind has a comparatively small effect on the ion escape rate, which instead mainly depends on the EUV radiation.

This has a large effect on estimations of the total amount of atmosphere that has escaped to space.

"Despite stronger solar wind and EUV-radiation levels under the early Sun, ion escape can not explain more than 0.006 bar of atmospheric pressure lost over the course of 3.9 billion years," said Ramstad.

"Even our upper estimate, 0.01 bar, is an insignificant amount in comparison to the atmosphere required to maintain a sufficiently strong greenhouse effect, about one bar or more according to climate models," he said.

The findings show that a stronger solar wind mainly accelerates particles already escaping the planet's gravity, but does not increase the ion escape rate.

Contrary to previous assumptions, the induced magnetosphere is also shown to protect the bulk of the Martian ionosphere from solar wind energy transfer. PTI

New form of matter 'excitonium' discovered

New form of matter 'excitonium' discovered

09 Dec 2017 | 11:23 AM

LOS ANGELES: Scientists have proven the existence of new form of matter called excitonium - which was first theorised almost 50 years ago.

Staff treated unfairly at work take more sick leave

Staff treated unfairly at work take more sick leave

08 Dec 2017 | 1:23 PM

LONDON: Employees who feel they are treated unfairly at work are more likely to take long-term sick leave, a study has found.

Cheers! Scientists turn beer into fuel

Cheers! Scientists turn beer into fuel

07 Dec 2017 | 12:34 PM

LONDON: Scientists have made the first step towards creating sustainable petrol using beer as a key ingredient.

Humans have hit maximum limit for lifespan: study

Humans have hit maximum limit for lifespan: study

07 Dec 2017 | 12:17 PM

LONDON: Humans may have reached their maximum limits for height, lifespan and physical performance, according to a first-of-its-kind research that looked at 120 years worth of historical information.

3D printed lifelike artificial organs developed

3D printed lifelike artificial organs developed

07 Dec 2017 | 11:52 AM

WASHINGTON: Scientists have successfully 3D printed lifelike artificial organ models that mimic the structure, properties and feel of real organs.

World's smallest Mona Lisa 'painted' with DNA

World's smallest Mona Lisa 'painted' with DNA

07 Dec 2017 | 11:43 AM

LOS ANGELES: Scientists have created the world's smallest copy of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting 'Mona Lisa' using DNA.

Microbes found on ISS resembles homes on Earth: Study

Microbes found on ISS resembles homes on Earth: Study

06 Dec 2017 | 12:07 PM

WASHINGTON: The International Space Station (ISS) has a ‘very diverse’ community of microbes that more closely resembled that of homes than of humans, researchers said on Tuesday.

Most teenagers cope with bad online experiences

Most teenagers cope with bad online experiences

05 Dec 2017 | 9:55 PM

NEW YORK: Are you worried about the consequences of your child encountering online risks, such as sexual soliciting, cyber-bullying and explicit material? Take heart as researchers have found that for most teenagers, the negative effects of such exposure vanish in less than a week.

Why Himalayas are hit by bigger earthquakes found

Why Himalayas are hit by bigger earthquakes found

05 Dec 2017 | 5:57 PM

GENEVA: Earthquakes hitting densely populated mountainous regions, such as the Himalayas, are bigger in magnitude because of a fast tectonic-plate collision, according to a study.

YouTube to hire 10,000 people to root out bad content

YouTube to hire 10,000 people to root out bad content

05 Dec 2017 | 10:57 AM

LONDON: YouTube will hire 10,000 people to monitor and control violent extremism on the popular video streaming platform, along with curbing content that endangers children.

Marijuana use may not help patients fight opioid addiction

Marijuana use may not help patients fight opioid addiction

04 Dec 2017 | 6:05 PM

WASHINGTON: Using marijuana regularly may not help patients in managing pain and depression during opioid addiction treatment, a study claims.

New method to rapidly measure magnitude of giant quakes

New method to rapidly measure magnitude of giant quakes

04 Dec 2017 | 1:10 PM

LONDON: Scientists have developed a new gravity-based approach to quickly estimate the magnitude of very large earthquakes.

There is no 'Microsoft Edition' Galaxy S8: Samsung

There is no 'Microsoft Edition' Galaxy S8: Samsung

04 Dec 2017 | 12:45 PM

SEOUL: Samsung has refuted reports that a "Microsoft Edition" of its flagship devices Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+ exists somewhere on this planet.

Smartphone addiction may cause depression, anxiety

Smartphone addiction may cause depression, anxiety

04 Dec 2017 | 12:16 PM

SEOUL: Prolonged use of smartphones may significantly increase the risk of depression, anxiety and insomnia among teenagers, a study warns.

Recurring nightmares reflect your daily frustrations

Recurring nightmares reflect your daily frustrations

04 Dec 2017 | 11:46 AM

LONDON: Having a recurring bad dream may indicate people's frustration of not being able to meet their basic psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness and feeling competent, a study has found.

Japanese women too busy to fall in love: Survey

Japanese women too busy to fall in love: Survey

04 Dec 2017 | 11:20 AM

TOKYO: Some 60 per cent of eligible women in Japan are reluctant to fall in love due to the growing burden at their workplace, according to a survey.

Treat for stargazers as ‘supermoon’ to brighten up skies

Treat for stargazers as ‘supermoon’ to brighten up skies

03 Dec 2017 | 5:50 PM

LONDON: Stargazers are in for a treat on Sunday as they could catch a glimpse of the so-called "supermoon" when the Moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky as it moves closer to Earth.

Catching them young: App helps kids unleash, share creativity

Catching them young: App helps kids unleash, share creativity

02 Dec 2017 | 5:32 PM

CHANDIGARH: A mobile application promises to help unleash the creative potential of the next generation of Indian children.

Child abuse victims more likely to out of school

Child abuse victims more likely to out of school

02 Dec 2017 | 2:11 PM

WASHINGTON: Children who have been victims of violence are more likely to out of high school before graduation than their peers, a study has found.

Bengaluru-based startup first to compete AI Facebook challenge

Bengaluru-based startup first to compete AI Facebook challenge

02 Dec 2017 | 3:06 PM

WASHINGTON: A Bengaluru-based startup is claimed to have become the first company in the world to successfully complete a difficult 20-part challenge in Artificial Intelligence created by Facebook in 2015.

NASA fires up Voyager 1 thrusters after 37 years

NASA fires up Voyager 1 thrusters after 37 years

02 Dec 2017 | 12:13 PM

WASHINGTON: US space agency NASA has said a set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft, the only human-made object in interstellar space, have been successfully fired up after 37 years without use.

300 fossilised pterosaur eggs found

300 fossilised pterosaur eggs found

01 Dec 2017 | 11:25 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO: A team of Brazilian and Chinese paleontologists have announced the discovery of about 300 fossilised eggs and skeletons of pterosaurs, a number of them quite well-preserved.

WhatsApp suffers another outage in less than a month

WhatsApp suffers another outage in less than a month

01 Dec 2017 | 11:21 AM

LONDON: Popular messaging platform WhatsApp suffered another global outage in less than a month.

Study finds dogs are brainier than cats

Study finds dogs are brainier than cats

30 Nov 2017 | 1:10 PM

WASHINGTON: Dogs are far more smarter than cats, according to a study that shows canines have significantly more brain cells associated with thinking, planning and complex behaviour as compared to felines.

Australian scientist tracks whale sharks using NASA algorithm

Australian scientist tracks whale sharks using NASA algorithm

30 Nov 2017 | 1:58 PM

CANBERRA: An algorithm developed by NASA to study star charts has been used by an Australian marine scientist to track and identify whale sharks.

Chinese satellite detects mysterious signals

Chinese satellite detects mysterious signals

30 Nov 2017 | 10:39 AM

BEIJING: China’s Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) has detected unexpected and mysterious signals in its measurement of high-energy cosmic rays.

Over 4 million Indians join Facebook’s blood donation feature

Over 4 million Indians join Facebook’s blood donation feature

30 Nov 2017 | 5:36 PM

NEW DELHI: More than four million donors in India have signed up for Facebook’s blood donation feature and the company will now expand this to Bangladesh.

Facebook may soon ask you to upload your photo for security

29 Nov 2017 | 8:28 PM

SAN FRANCISCO:To strengthen security for its over two billion users, Facebook may soon ask them to upload a photo that clearly shows their face to prove that they are not a bot.

Facebook may soon ask you to upload your photo for security

Facebook may soon ask you to upload your photo for security

29 Nov 2017 | 7:22 PM

SAN FRANCISCO:To strengthen security for its over two billion users, Facebook may soon ask them to upload a photo that clearly shows their face to prove that they are not a bot.

Facebook may soon ask you to upload your photo for security

Facebook may soon ask you to upload your photo for security

29 Nov 2017 | 4:36 PM

SAN FRANCISCO: To strengthen security for its over two billion users, Facebook may soon ask them to upload a photo that clearly shows their face to prove that they are not a bot.

NASA plans new rover for Mars 2020 mission

NASA plans new rover for Mars 2020 mission

29 Nov 2017 | 3:30 PM

NASA’s next mission to Mars in 2020 will feature a souped-up unmanned rover vehicle to search for signs of ancient microbial life in areas of the uninhabitable Red Planet.

Dip in CO2 levels changed Earth's climate

Dip in CO2 levels changed Earth's climate

28 Nov 2017 | 4:45 PM

LONDON: A decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels led to a fundamental shift in the behaviour of the Earth's climate system around one million years ago, according to a study.

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