The last ice age on Mars came to an abrupt end

The last ice age on Mars came to an abrupt end

And now I did it again. This time the rover has found evidence of a dramatic shift in the Martian climate 400,000 years ago.

The rover was examining the dark ridges or tops of light sand dunes on the 3,300-kilometre-wide plain of Utopia Planitia, which may have been the ocean floor millions of years ago.

This was written by researchers at the China National Astronomical Observatory and the American Brown University Article in the journal Nature.

Strong change in wind direction

The team used data from the Zhurong rover, which is equipped with terrain and multispectral cameras, surface composition analyzers, and meteorological instruments.

But they also used images of the planet’s surface from cameras on a satellite orbiting Mars.

Taken together, these data show that sand dunes on Mars likely formed through a dramatic shift in the patterns of strong winds.

These processes occurred about 400,000 years ago, at the same time as the last ice age on the Red Planet.

The study showed that the wind direction changed by about 70 degrees from northeast to northwest.

The dunes initially had the shape of a crescent, which eroded over hundreds of thousands of years, but later turned into long, dark hills as a result of shifting winds.

The older crescents are composed of lighter material than the newer dark crescents.

Based on the number of craters that formed around the dunes, the researchers estimate that the older formations formed between 21 million and 400,000 years ago, while the new, darker dunes formed at the top after the Ice Age, 400,000 years ago.

A sudden change in the axis of rotation

The results also showed that a change in the axis of rotation may have pulled the planet out of the last ice age. Climate change can be seen in the layers of sand dunes in the southern part of Utopia Planitia.

The change in the axis of rotation is due to a natural phenomenon called Milankovitch cycles. They lead to changes in the planet’s climate – in part because the sun’s rays fall differently.

Milankovitch cycles involve a periodic shift of the planet’s rotation axis relative to the planet’s orbit. This is caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun, Jupiter, and other planets, as well as the shape of the planet’s orbit.

Researchers believe that the axis of rotation shifted between 15° and 35° between 2.1 million and 400,000 years ago, causing climate changes on Mars.

Mars is geologically in the Amazon era, which began somewhere between 3.55 and 1.88 billion years ago, and new data can teach us more about this era.

“Understanding the climate of the Amazon is critical to explaining the current Martian landscape, fluctuating reservoirs and atmospheric state, and linking these current observations and energetic processes to Martian climate models,” says study leader Li Chunlai at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, In a press release.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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