December 23, 2012 2:15
On Earth, in Africa in the Oklo region in what is now Gabon, about 1 billion years ago acted natural nuclear reactor in which underground water interacted c uranium deposits. This reactor was self-regulating — water played a role in it cooler and moderator of the neutron flux, keeping the reaction to go critical threshold. This natural reactor worked a few million years, narabatyvaya plutonium.
Brandenburg said that on Mars there are two components of the natural plant — underground water and uranium.
"There is evidence that a large nuclear reactor formed and acted on Mars in northern Atsidaliyskom Sea (western hemisphere). However, in contrast to terrestrial counterparts, this natural reactor was apparently much more produced uranium-233 from thorium, and, apparently, was destroyed in the explosion, released significant amounts of radioactive material to the surface of Mars, "- said The report on the Brandenburg planetologicheskoy conference in the U.S..
Scientists estimate that in Atsidaliyskom sea on Mars a billion years ago, at a depth of about one kilometer, there ore body, consisting of the concentrated uranium, thorium and potassium. Due to the fact that Mars, unlike Earth, there is no movement of the tectonic plates, the ore body remained intact, and it supports the nuclear reaction to produce heat. This process started about a billion years ago, when the proportion of uranium-235 in the field was 3%, and could be launched in the penetration of the underground ore body of water.
After a few hundred million years of the reactor began producing nuclear fuel in the form of uranium-233 and plutonium-239 faster than burn it. Strong neutron flux also resulted in a large amount of radioactive isotopes of potassium.
At some point in the reactor went critical mode — water boiled away, leading to an increase in the neutron flux and start a spontaneous chain reaction involving uranium-233 and plutonium-239.
Because of the large size of the ore body and its position at a depth of about 1 km, the reaction proceeded without the explosive destruction to a fairly high degree of burnout.
"The release of energy was disastrous and led to the release of a cloud of dust and ash, as a powerful strike from the asteroid. This led to the loss of radioactive dust and debris over much of the planet's surface, and this layer was enriched in uranium and thorium. The blast formed cavity width of about 400 kilometers in Atsidaliyskogo Sea ", — the report says.
According to the calculations of Brandenburg, the energy of the explosion was equivalent to the energy from the fall to the surface of the 30-kilometer asteroid. However, unlike the center of the asteroid impact of the explosion was close to the surface, and the cavity formed by them, was much smaller in depth than impact craters.
Features of the planet
A region with a high concentration of thorium in the north-western sea Atsidaliyskogo wide and shallow basin. The content of thorium and traces of radioactive isotopes of potassium indicates that the nuclear accident occurred several hundred million years ago, in the middle or end of Amazoniyskoy era. This indicates the presence of a disaster resulting from nuclear reactions of gases — argon-40 and xenon-129 — in the planet's atmosphere.
"The existence of such a large natural nuclear reactor could explain some puzzling features in Martian data, such as the high content of potassium and thorium on the surface and a large set of radiogenic isotopes in the atmosphere," — said the scientist.
The hypothesis is in doubt
Other researchers have expressed doubts about the reality described Brandenburg disaster.
So, Dr. David Beaty (David Beaty) Jet Propulsion Laboratory said that the current geological conditions as on Mars and on Earth have been around for millennia and had little abrupt changes.
"The stones are stones. (A natural nuclear reaction) can happen a billion years, but that is no reason right now to go home to his family and run off to the mountains, "- said Biti, whose words are quoted by Fox News.
According to scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lars Borg (Lars Borg), features that are referenced by Brandenburg, may be associated with "normal" geological processes, not a nuclear reaction.
"We are studying Martian meteorites for 15 years and know the details of their isotopic composition. However, no one would have thought of the possibility of a natural nuclear explosion on Mars "- says Borg.