The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Did a rogue planet steal the atmosphere from Mars?  (Read 1984 times)

Offline James  Enix

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
James  Enix asked the Naked Scientists:
   
A comment:

There was an interesting article in the December podcast concerning the possibility that Mars may have lost its atmosphere to another planet.  I thought that I was the only one who thought of such wild things.

Is there any way to tell where the rouge planet went?  I would think that there is a trail indicating where it went after pulling the Mars atmosphere and water away?   Cosmic dust trails if you will. 

If the rogue earth did take Mars' atmosphere and water we may never know!  I was so long ago that the trail has truly gone cold. 

Any thoughts on this theory?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 25/01/2010 15:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Did a rogue planet steal the atmosphere from Mars?
« Reply #1 on: 26/01/2010 01:25:42 »
Heh - I thought Mars was the 'rouge' planet  ;)

More seriously though, I strongly doubt that Mars could have lost its atmosphere to a 'rogue' planet.  If another planet were to come close enough to 'steal' its atmosphere it's likely that both planets would be pulled apart by the gravitational tidal forces and would have to reform, pretty much from scratch again.

In any case, there's no need for such an unlikely scenario as the lack of a dense atmosphere on Mars can be attributed to its smaller size and its lack of a magnetosphere.  Being quite a bit smaller than the Earth, Mars could not hold on so tightly to its atmosphere, and without a magnetosphere to protect it from the solar wind, the atmosphere was simply blown away by the wind from the Sun.
 

Offline James  Enix

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Did a rogue planet steal the atmosphere from Mars?
« Reply #2 on: 04/02/2010 17:06:19 »
Thanks so much for your response. 
What has changed on Mars to reduce the magnetosphere? 
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Did a rogue planet steal the atmosphere from Mars?
« Reply #3 on: 04/02/2010 17:18:09 »
The evidence suggests that Mars has a smaller iron core than the Earth's, commensurate with its smaller size, which has cooled and solidified.  Eventually, the Earth's core will cool and solidify too, at which point our magnetosphere will collapse and the Earth will most likely lose most of its atmosphere as well.  This isn't likely to happen for quite some time yet though.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
Did a rogue planet steal the atmosphere from Mars?
« Reply #4 on: 05/02/2010 07:20:21 »
Heh - I thought Mars was the 'rouge' planet 

You'd have to have your francophone switched on to get that one.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Did a rogue planet steal the atmosphere from Mars?
« Reply #4 on: 05/02/2010 07:20:21 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums