From the first Mars mission to the recent Perseverance, “follow the water” is one of the key themes of martian exploration, as water is essential for life and habitability. Contradictory to the present-day condition of Mars, Early Mars is warmer and wetter. Nevertheless, it is challenging to determine the bulk water inventory of Mars. Here I will assess previous constraints for the volatile budgets of Mars and introduce new isotope tracers for comparing planetary volatiles. New data suggest that Mars was more depleted in volatiles than Earth, which implies much less water was initially accreted to Mars than previously thought.
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Header image photo credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens; NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS; Graphic design by Sean Garcia/Washington University in St. Louis.
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