Mars Loses an Ocean But Gains the Potential for Life

NASA scientists have determined that a primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth's Arctic Ocean and that the Red Planet has lost 87 percent of that water to space. Credit: NASA/GSFC

NASA scientists have determined that a primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean and that the Red Planet has lost 87 percent of that water to space. Water would have covered 20% of the globe about 3 billion years ago. Credit: NASA/GSFC

It’s hard to believe it now looking at Mars’ dusty, dessicated landscape that it once possessed a vast ocean. A recent NASA study of the Red Planet using the world’s most powerful infrared telescopes clearly indicate a planet that sustained a body of water larger than the Earth’s Arctic Ocean.

If spread evenly across the Martian globe, it would have covered the entire surface to a depth of about 450 feet (137 meters). More likely, the water pooled into the low-lying plains that cover much of Mars’ northern hemisphere. In some places, it would have been nearly a mile (1.6 km) deep. (…)
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© Bob King for Universe Today, 2015. |
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