Mars history is bizarre, and scientists believe it hides many secrets yet to be discovered. NASA has recently revealed that its rover Curiosity found organic matter on Mars and high levels of methane, a gas that is linked to the existence of life, so there could be more on the Red Planet. Now, a couple of new studies shed more light on the early history of Mars.
According to one of the studies, Mars has formed earlier than Earth, as its crust solidified faster. The other research comes and says that the network of ravines and channels on the Red Planet built due to rain or melting ice. Both studies indicate that in its early days, Mars wasn’t the dead red sphere we see today.
“The main thing we know that makes life possible is the presence of liquid water. And we know that it could have existed all the way back to just after that crystallization and solidification of the Mars’ crust,” said Linda Elkins-Tanton, a researcher at Arizona State University, for Gizmondo.
Studying the early history of Mars from Earth
According to the new studies, Mars formed only 5 million years after the formation of our solar system, and the planet’s crust solidified in between 30 million and 100 million years after Mars formed.
It’s mind-boggling to think that all these information came by studying the early history of Mars from Earth, but that’s precisely the case here.
During Mars’ early life, pieces of rocks from the Red Planet were thrown into space and reached Earth in the form of meteorites. Therefore, in the composition of these Martian meteorites, there are precious clues to the early history of Mars and how the planet formed, and most importantly in our case, when.
The researchers examined Mars rocks for the presence of zircons, some crystals that are made of melting magma and can embed uranium atoms. Studying this compounds, the scientists stated that these “are about 100 million years older than the oldest terrestrial zircons, telling us that Mars had evolved into a fully differentiated planet with a crust much earlier than Earth.”