February 10, 2015

Why is Mars so warm?

Filed under: Letters from Ionia — Tags: , , , — zankaon @ 3:16 pm

Temperatures on earth can range from ~ -80 F to 100F. On Mars one has temperature up to ~60 F near equator, and to at least freezing temperature (-70 F) of CO_2 at poles. Also Mars has no moderating effect of oceans or seas currently. Earth`s oceans have hugh heat capacity, wherein water has a specific heat 4x that of atmosphere. Heat capacity = specific heat x volume. Hence the standard lore that earth, without moderating effect of oceans, would be more extreme, would seemingly have a counterexample.

Mar`s atmosphere is ~3-4 millibars i.e. 10^-4 of earth`s. However there are still an overwhelming number of atmospheric molecules, from nature`s perspective. More specifically, 1 mole of atmospheric gas, such as N_2 would be 28 grams, and have Avagadro`s number 10^23 of nitrogen molecules; wherein 1 liter of nitrogen is 1.25 gm at earth`s standard pressure and 0 C temperature. So there would seem to still be plenty of molecules (~2 x 10^20/ ~22 liters of N_2) with potential for change in kinetic energy, and hence in temperature, even for such a thin martian atmosphere, from our perspective.

This would seem reasonable, and also consistent, in that Martian sky has a southwest coloration; consistent with sufficient molecules for refraction. Hence ours and nature`s perspective seem to coincide, in regards to such latter phenomenon.


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