A Glimpse of What a Liquid-Covered Mars Used to Look Like
A video created by Maven and The Lunar Planetary Institute shows what Mars used to look like, back when it may have been covered in liquid.
Among fans of space news, it’s more or less common knowledge that Mars used to have plenty of water on the surface once upon a time. The Red Planet was red and blue billions of years ago, covered in liquid. From a distance, it may have looked a fair amount like Earth. Of course, things change.
Mars is, of course, barren now – at least on the surface – following a mass exodus of liquid due to atmospheric issues. Researchers believe that the once ample amounts of liquid may not be completely gone, and have instead retreated under the surface. A recent discovery of what is believed to be a lake under the southern polar ice cap may help to confirm that. But barring a massive terraforming project using technology we can only currently dream about, the surface of Mars will remain red and liquid-free for the foreseeable future.
That’s where the video below comes in. Created by Maven and The Lunar Planetary Institute for NASA, the clip show what, in theory, Mars looked like back when it was young and wet. As much as 20-percent of the Martian surface may have been covered by liquid. The animation then goes on to accelerate the process of millions year to show the full transformation from a liquid covered world to what we see today.
The clip is based on some of the most current theories about the Red Planet, but there is still a lot to learn and a lot of disagreement. One of the key points of contention is how warm Mars might have been. There are theories that claim Mars was cold, covered in ice that would occasionally break up due to volcanic activity. It may not have been all that dissimilar from some of the moons around Jupiter and Saturn like Enceladus.
Other, recent theories, however, propose that Mars was much warmer than first thought. That also increases the possibility of some form of ancient life on Mars. And if that is the case, there’s a chance some form of that life survived (at the microbial level).
There’s one small note if you are looking for complete scientific accuracy – the video shows the geography of Mars as it is today, and doesn’t reflect the ancient topography, which has certainly changed over the years due to geological events on the planet, as well as the odd celestial interference (including meteor strikes).
It’s an interesting look at what may have been, once upon a time, billions of years ago