A series of topography maps that was just published offers new proof that Mars formerly had a northern ocean. The evidence of ancient ocean found on Mars, indicate that the planet may have once been hospitable.
A group of scientists claim to have discovered proof of a massive ocean that once covered the surface of the red planet 3.5 billion years ago. According to a press release from Pennsylvania State University that was released on October 27, the researchers there recently revealed a set of topography. Instead of the harsh, freezing, dry, and dusty terrain that exists today, they think that the maps present an ideal scenario that the planet once witnessed sea-level rise associated with an extended warm and wet climate.
According to Benjamin Cardenas, assistant professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University and primary author of the study recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, “What immediately comes to mind as one the most significant points here is that the existence of an ocean of this size means a higher potential for life.”
“It also tells us about the ancient climate and its evolution. Based on these findings, we know there had to have been a period when it was warm enough and the atmosphere was thick enough to support this much liquid water at one time,” he continued.
The research team mapped data from NASA and the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter using software created by the United States Geological Survey. Over 6,500 kilometers of fluvial ridges were uncovered by them, and they appear to have been sculpted by rivers. They organized them into 20 systems to demonstrate that the ridges are most probably eroded river deltas or submarine-channel belts.
“The big, novel thing that we did in this paper was think about Mars in terms of its stratigraphy and its sedimentary record,” Mr Cardenas added.
They examined ridge thicknesses, angles, and positions using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that was obtained in 2007 in order to comprehend the topographical depression on Mars known as the Aeolis Dorsa region.
“The rocks in Aeolis Dorsa capture some fascinating information about what the ocean was like,” the professor said. “It was dynamic. The sea level rose significantly. Rocks were being deposited along its basins at a fast rate. There was a lot of change happening here.”
He thinks there might be proof of Martian life in the region. “What immediately comes to mind as one the most significant points here is that the existence of an ocean of this size means a higher potential for life,” says Cardenas.