Chasing water in the Solar System: Exploration of the Moon, Mars, Venus, and the Jupiter system
Swedish Institute of Space Physics
Water is an essential chemical element in the Universe that supports life. Earth possesses a wealth of liquid water in the oceans. However, the cases of any other planet are still mystery. Can they host (or hosted) water? In what form does water embed? How stable is water on planet? The search for water is thus a key topic of Solar System explorations. In addition to scientific interests, aggregated water is, if it exists, a potential resource for human activities in space. This seminar overviews Solar System explorations in the context of searching for water based on in situ investigations by Sweden in collaboration with Japan. The Moon is dry. There is, however, ongoing global water production presumably; Protons ejected from the Sun can directly react with the oxidized lunar surface to produce water molecules. Using a remote sensing plasma instrument, we have successfully visualized the ongoing proton impacts on the lunar surface. Mars and Venus are interesting in the context of the history of planets and habitability. When these planets were formed, they had wealth of water as for present Earth. Where has the water gone? Water loss to space over billions of years has been argued for decades. We are conducting experiments to measure the current loss of water from Mars and Venus using ESA's planetary orbiters, and the strong evidence of ongoing water loss from these planets has been found. The large moons of Jupiter can host oceans under the crust. The subsurface oceans are potential habitable environments. We are preparing the JUICE mission, launch planned in 2022, that will study the environment of the Jovian moons.
Created 2019-11-12 11:20:00 by Mats HolmstrÃ¶m Last changed 2020-01-14 09:51:37 by Mats HolmstrÃ¶m