Ancient Mars Once Had A Vast Ocean Covering One-Fifth Of Its Surface, New Research Suggests

Scientists have long known there was once water on Mars, but just how much?

New research suggests that the Red Planet was way wetter than scientists thought. In fact, it seems that large portions of the Martian surface were flooded under a vast ocean–and that seems to have increased the odds that Mars was once habitable.

The research, an analysis of chemical “signatures” in the Martian atmosphere, indicates that some 4.2 billion years ago a body of water bigger than the Arctic Ocean covered nearly one-fifth of the planet’s surface. This ocean likely contained a whopping 5 million cubic miles of water, with a maximum depth of one mile.

“Ten years ago, the story of water on Mars was an occasional flood of rocky debris every 100m years that then switched off again,” John Bridges, a Leicester University planetary scientist who works on NASA’s Curiosity rover mission, told The Guardian. “We now know it’s more continuous. There were long-standing bodies of water: lakes, deltas and perhaps even seas. It seems to me that we have excellent evidence that Mars was once habitable, though whether it was ever inhabited is not clear.”

For the research, scientists at NASA’s Goddard —> Read More Here


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