Oceans on Mars: New evidence shows that the Red Planet had a huge ancient ocean!

Oceans on Mars: New evidence shows that the Red Planet had a huge ancient ocean!

A long time ago, Mars might have been like Earth today.

We know that Mars once had bodies of water on its surface; In fact, liquid water existed on this planet billions of years ago. But where and how much of that water exists is disputed.

Now, using Mars’ topographic data and comparing it to Earth’s, researchers have been able to provide conclusive evidence that about 3.5 billion years ago, the Red Planet had an ocean. stretching hundreds of thousands of kilometers and at least 900 meters deep.

According to Science Alert, Mars is an arid planet ruled by global dust storms. It’s also an icy world, where nighttime temperatures in winter drop to minus 140 degrees Celsius at the poles.

The good thing about studying Mars is that you don’t have to start from scratch: you have valuable data for another planet that you can use – Earth. For example, we know the types of structures and geological textures that water creates with rocks on Earth, so if we see the same geological pattern on Mars, we can infer It turns out that the water is also there.

Of course, not everything is as simple as that, but the guiding principle of looking for signs of ancient water on Mars has quite a lot in common with Earth, which is to look for structures or rocks that we can’t find. We know it’s made of water. In this case, the researchers used software developed by the US Geological Survey to map data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Laser Altimeter. Orbiter of Mars. They discovered more than 6,500 km of alluvial ledges, and then grouped them into 20 systems, suggesting that these ridges are most likely remnants of ancient coastlines, such as river deltas or canal belts implicit.

” What immediately comes to mind is one of the most important points here,” said Benjamin Cardenas, as‌sistant professor of geosciences at Penn State and lead author of the recently published study . is the existence of an ocean of enormous size, which means there is a higher potential for life .”

He said: ” The rocks at Aeolis Dorsa capture some fascinating information about the oceanic ocean. It’s very dynamic. Sea levels used to rise dramatically. The rocks were deposited along the basins. its at a fast pace. There’s been a lot of change happening here “.

These maps provide evidence for an ocean of grasses located north of Mars. The researchers mapped the location, thickness, and elevation of the ridge system to better understand the ancient geography of the former region.

Essentially, the area we call Aeolis Dorsa was once a great ocean fed by a dense network of rivers. The results are also supported by a separate study that likened features on Mars to those found beneath the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico. The researchers created a Mars-like basin erosion model, noting that what we are seeing on Mars is clearly indicative of a large water system.

The stratigraphy we are explaining here is quite similar to that on Earth ,” said Cardenas. ” Yes, that sounds like a big statement to say that we have discovered records of major waterways on Mars .”

In the past, Mars was once a warm, wet place where liquid water flowed across the surface, filling lakes and channels and forming deltas. Mars then lost its magnetic field. Without the protection of the magnetic field, the Sun has stripped the planet’s atmosphere. Without an atmosphere, liquid water then gradually disappears.

Cardenas also added that this sedimentary record contains not only information about the water on Mars, but also about the climate. The results of the study also indicate that the planet has experienced sea level rise consistent with prolonged warm and wet periods.

It also tells us about the ancient climate and its evolution. Based on these findings, we know that there must have been a period when it was warm enough and the atmosphere was thick enough to support it. so much liquid water at once “.

So, in addition to finding something about the ancient history of Mars, we also have new clues to look for signs of life. If life on Mars ever existed, and if any sign of it still exists, this ocean would be a very good place to start looking for it. In fact, Cardenas says some of the spikes the Curiosity rover is looking at are part of this river system.

” The main goal of the Mars Curiosity missions is to look for signs of life. It’s always looking for water, for traces of habitable life, ” Cardenas said . 

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