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Originally posted by GoldEagle
The fact is that erosion is much slower on Mars. It's atmosphere is very dry. Sand storms are harsh but would not really erode a massive structure that much even over millions of years.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A study of meteorites chipped off the surface of Mars suggests the planet has been frozen for 4 billion years and probably never had the warm wet conditions that could have given rise to life, two researchers said on Thursday.
Their study of two meteorites that fell to Earth suggests they were never in warm conditions. The report, published in the journal Science, contradicts theories the now-frozen planet may once have been warm enough for life to have arisen.
"First, we evaluated what the meteorites could have experienced during ejection from Mars, 11 to 15 million years ago, in order to set an upper limit on the temperatures in a worst-case scenario for shock-heating," said Benjamin Weiss, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He did the work while a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology.
They concluded the two meteorites were unlikely to have been above the boiling point of water during their ejection from the martian surface 11 million years ago.
Then Weiss and fellow student David Shuster measured the amount of argon remaining in the samples.
Argon, a gas, is known to leak out of rocks at a rate that depends on temperature.
The cooler the rock has been, the more argon will have been retained.
"The small amount of argon loss that has apparently taken place in these meteorites is remarkable. Any way we look at it, these rocks have been cold for a very long time," Shuster said in a statement.
Their calculations suggest the Martian surface has been frozen for most of the past 4 billion years.
"On Earth, you couldn't find a single rock that has been below even room temperature for that long," Shuster said.