Mars is now a cold and barren planet, but that has not always been the case, and the red planet has been home to vast oceans in its younger years. According to a team of geophysicists at the University of California at Berkeley, the oceans of Mars could have formed a little earlier than we think.
Mars is not the most hospitable planet, now
If the Red Planet is much like our world in terms of size, its climate is very different and temperatures on its surface reach an average of -63 Celsius, peaking even to -140 Celsius.
Mars also displays a lower gravity and is also lacking a magnetosphere, thus, its surface of the planet is directly exposed to the effects of the solar winds and the radiation in its orbit is by 2.5 times greater than that found on the board of the International Space Station.
Despite its sterile appearance, Mars fascinates many researchers and a team at the University of California has done a thorough study focusing on its ancient oceans.
Mars had vast oceans extending over several kilometers
The researchers have tried to link the existence of oceans on the surface of the Red Planet during its early years to the formation of the Tharsis volcanic system. According to Michael Manga, a professor of planetary science, “volcanoes can be important in creating the conditions for Mars to hold water.”
The model developed by the university team, therefore, proposes that the Martian oceans could’ve formed before or at the same time as Tharsis.
On the other hand, researchers at UC Berkeley believe that the Tharsis played an important role in the conservation of the oceans by emitting gases in the Martian atmosphere that contributed to global warming and the birth of a greenhouse effect, which then allowed the water to continue to exist in the liquid state on Mars.
However, millennia have passed, the water evaporated and froze at the Mars poles, according to the researchers.
In conclusion, the scientists at University of California at Berkeley consider that Mars has held vast oceans which could’ve formed a little earlier than we think.