Did you know that the climate on Mars is also changing ?
NASA ( who else ) conducted research between 1970 and the 2000s and
disclosed the results. Those results were picked up by the German newspaper Stern, who published a disconcerting article about it on 05.04.2007. We haven't heard about it since but it's always good to know that global warming is also happening at our remote neighbor Mars.
" Climate change on Earth has become a global problem. But the climate is not only changing on our planet - temperatures are also rising on the red planet.
Mars is also experiencing climate change: The average temperature on Mars has risen by about 0.65 degrees Celsius since the 1970s, say US astronomers. The increase is linked to changes on the Martian surface, which is repeatedly hit by strong dust storms. The scientists around Liri Fenton of the US space agency Nasa's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field describe their results in the scientific journal Nature.
The planet becomes darker
The researchers based their study on data collected by the Viking missions in the 1970s and the Global Surveyor Mars probe that reached the planet in March 1999. Using the images, the scientists were able to reconstruct how the surface of Mars changed over those three decades.
Some areas on the planet's surface became darker, while others became lighter. Overall, the researchers observed a darkening of the planet. This led to sunlight warming the surface more strongly and the average temperature rising.
The researchers used the so-called Albedo as a measure. Astronomers define this as the ability of a celestial body to reflect incident light. According to the data, the Albedo changed by more than 10 per cent in some places.
"Dust devils reshape the surface
The change in climate was caused by the planet's busy weather patterns, which the researchers studied in detail in a model: The different heating of the surface causes local dust storms, called dust devils, as well as storms that affect large parts of the planet. The storms sweep away large amounts of dust, constantly reshaping the planet's surface.
Wind speeds are higher over dark areas of the surface than over bright ones, the researchers write - a contrast that becomes even greater as each storm carries away dust, making the surface even darker. The warming could also be the cause of the decrease in ice at the planet's south pole that astronomers are currently observing, the scientists suspect.
And now, the 1 million dollar question: how have NASA and its funded scientists been able to make all these measurements considering the fact that since the formal moon landing in 1969, they have failed to travel to the Moon even once and, curiously, very few measurements on and about the Moon are known ?