A recent study from the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters presents new speculation about the early evolution of Mars. By developing a new model of the Martian atmosphere through time, researchers found that Mars—in contrast to the frozen desert it is now—was born with lots of water and a dense atmosphere that could have harbored warm-to-hot oceans for millions of years. This discovery likens the planet to Earth, with water vapor concentrated in the lower atmosphere while the high atmosphere remained dry due to water vapor condensing into clouds at low altitudes. Molecular hydrogen, on the other hand, was shown to escape into the upper atmosphere which corresponds with measurements made of the planet by the rover Curiosity. According to the not-for-profit research organization SETI Institute, the study suggests that “early Mars might have been a warm version of modern Titan,” supporting the idea that it was “a location for the origin of life.” Learn more at SciTechDaily.
Image courtesy of ESO/M Kornmesser/N Risinger/skysurvey.org