The role of seasonal thaws in the Early Mars Faint Young Sun Paradox

Dr. Paolo Simonetti (INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Italy)

15 Dicembre 2023
11:30, Aula Piazzi


Stellar evolutionary models indicate that the Sun emitted around 25% less energy 4 Gyr ago. At that age, however, liquid water was most certainly present both on Earth and Mars. In the case of Mars, which is still today near the outer edge of the Solar System Habitable Zone, these two facts are especially difficult to reconcile. One of the solutions to this apparent paradox proposes small scale seasonal thaws on an otherwise icy planet as the source of water that excavated the dendritic valley networks that are visible today. In this talk I will show how, by using our fast seasonal-latitudinal energy balance model, we performed a parameter space exploration of the climate of Early Mars in order to identify the combinations of planetary, atmospheric and orbital parameters that can give rise to these thaws. Apart from the conclusions that we were able to draw, the identification of the most promising conditions will be useful for future in-depth analyses with computationally costly 3D general circulation models.