LIGHTEN UP, MARS

The red planet is becoming toasty:

Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.

The mechanism at work on Mars appears, however, to be different from that on Earth …

You betcha. On Mars, it’s all about dark colours. That kid from the Learnium was right:

Fenton’s team unearthed heat maps of the Martian surface from Nasa’s Viking mission in the 1970s and compared them with maps gathered more than two decades later by Mars Global Surveyor. They found there had been widespread changes, with some areas becoming darker.

When a surface darkens it absorbs more heat, eventually radiating that heat back to warm the thin Martian atmosphere: lighter surfaces have the opposite effect.

There you have it. We have much to learn from the Learnium.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/30/2007 at 12:12 PM
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