Thermodynamic disequilibrium is a necessary situation in a system in which complex emergent structures are created and maintained. It is known that most of the chemical disequilibrium, a particular type of thermodynamic disequilibrium, in Earth's atmosphere is a consequence of life. We have developed a thermochemical model for the Martian atmosphere to analyze the disequilibrium by chemical reactions calculating the entropy production. It follows from the comparison with the Earth atmosphere that the magnitude of the entropy produced by the recombination reaction forming O3 (O + O2 + CO2 ⇋ O3 + CO2) in the atmosphere of the Earth is larger than the entropy produced by the dominant set of chemical reactions considered for Mars, as a consequence of the low density and the poor variety of species of the Martian atmosphere. If disequilibrium is needed to create and maintain self-organizing structures in a system, we conclude that the current Martian atmosphere is unable to support large physico-chemical structures, such as those created on Earth.
- Entropy production
- Non-equilibrium thermodynamics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)