Modeling Martian Atmospheric Losses over Time: Implications for Exoplanetary Climate Evolution and Habitability

Chuanfei Dong1,2 et al. (>10)
Astrophysical Journal Letters 859, L14 Link to Article [DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aac489]
1Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

In this Letter, we make use of sophisticated 3D numerical simulations to assess the extent of atmospheric ion and photochemical losses from Mars over time. We demonstrate that the atmospheric ion escape rates were significantly higher (by more than two orders of magnitude) in the past at ~4 Ga compared to the present-day value owing to the stronger solar wind and higher ultraviolet fluxes from the young Sun. We found that the photochemical loss of atomic hot oxygen dominates over the total ion loss at the current epoch, while the atmospheric ion loss is likely much more important at ancient times. We briefly discuss the ensuing implications of high atmospheric ion escape rates in the context of ancient Mars, and exoplanets with similar atmospheric compositions around young solar-type stars and M-dwarfs.

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