View Full Version : Why does Mars have oxygen?

2007-Oct-12, 05:59 AM
In its atmosphere?

Ronald Brak
2007-Oct-12, 06:17 AM
I assume you are reffering to the trace amounts of oxygen in the martian atmosphere. As you can see by the colour of mars, the rocks like to absorb oxygen and make mars the orange planet so wouldn't expect oxygen to hang around. (And despite its colour mars isn't rusted out yet.) But ultraviolet light splitting water molecules replenish the traces amounts of oxygen (the hydrogen will often escape). CO2 may get split too. And maybe there are even photosynthetic or chemosynthetic bacteria equivelants that release oxygen, but there's no evidence of that. Just evidence for methane producing life.

I imagine there are people here who know more about the atmosphere of mars than I do.

2007-Oct-12, 06:20 AM
I'm just really guessing here, but I think it's because there is oxygen in the original makeup of Mars, as on Earth, and that oxygen is a gas at the temperature on Mars. Otherwise I think there would be chemical questions, i.e. why does the oxygen exist as O2 rather than as oxides with metals on the surface. But I don't know enough about chemistry to answer that.

2007-Oct-12, 10:39 AM
I'm going to expand on this and hope I'm not leading this too off topic...

Could there be any relation to the contents, including some oxygen, in the Martian atmosphere that explains why iron sulfate salt (otherwise known as melanterite) and various iron oxides in the Martian soil (roughly 20% by weight) doesn't seem to react with the peroxides?