NASA scientists now believe Mars once had a massive ocean and held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean. The ocean covered half of the northern hemisphere of Mars and exsited 3.7 billion years ago – at a time when life of Earth was just starting.
It’s thought 87 percent of the water on Mars has now been lost to space, leave the other 13 percent locked up in rocks or present in the thin atmosphere.
How much water did Mars actually have when it was young and how did it lose it?
A team of researchers at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center have used infrared telescopes on Earth to study water molecules in the Martian atmosphere. The findings indicate that as much of 20 per cent of the surface Mars was covered by an ancient ocean.
An ancient Martian ocean held more water than the Arctic Ocean on Earth, scientists believe.
It once covered what is now the planet’s arid northern plains and would have contained at least 20 million cubic kilometres (12.4 million cubic miles) of water.
That was during the planet’s wet Noachian period, which ended about 3.7 billion years ago when life was just emerging on Earth.
Source: Huffington Post