News / Science & Technology

NASA Envisions Mars With Water

This is an artist's concept of an ancient, habitable Mars capable of supporting liquid water on its surface. (Michael Lentz/NASA Goddard Conceptual Image Lab)
This is an artist's concept of an ancient, habitable Mars capable of supporting liquid water on its surface. (Michael Lentz/NASA Goddard Conceptual Image Lab)

Related Articles

Hubble Space Telescope Sees Asteroid with 6 Comet-Like Tails

Unlike other space rocks, which appear as tiny points of light, this asteroid has six comet-like tails of dust

Video 'Man in the Moon' Explained

Scientists think they have an explanation as to why impact craters on near side of moon are larger than those on far side

Image Captures Saturn, Mars, Earth and Venus

The image is actually a mosaic of 141 wide-angle photos taken by the Cassini probe
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
A new NASA video shows what Mars may have been like long ago when it had a denser atmosphere and liquid water.

The concept is based on evidence that Mars was once very different.

"There are characteristic dendritic structured channels that, like on Earth, are consistent with surface erosion by water flows,” said Joseph Grebowsky of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The interiors of some impact craters have basins suggesting crater lakes, with many showing connecting channels consistent with water flows into and out of the crater.”

He added that small impact craters have been removed with time and larger craters show signs of erosion by water more than 3.7 billion years ago, and sedimentary layering is seen on valley walls. Minerals are present on the surface that can only be produced in the presence of liquid water, Grebowsky said.

Estimates about the amount of water needed to explain these features have equated to possibly as much as a planet-wide layer one-half a kilometer (1,640 feet) deep or more, according to Grebowsky.

It's unknown if the habitable climate lasted long enough for life to emerge on Mars.

"The only direct evidence for life early in the history of a planet's evolution is that on Earth," said Grebowsky. "The earliest evidence for terrestrial life is the organic chemical structure of a rock found on the surface in Greenland. The surface was thought to be from an ancient sea floor sediment. The age of the rock was estimated to be 3.8 billion years, 700 million years from the Earth's creation.”

The video ends with an illustration of NASA's MAVEN mission in orbit around present-day Mars. MAVEN will investigate how Mars lost its atmosphere. Scheduled to be launched in November, it will arrive at Mars in September 2014.

There are several theories of how Mars was stripped of its thick atmosphere.

"Hydrodynamic outflow and ejection from massive asteroid impacts during the later heavy bombardment period (ending 4.1 billion to 3.8 billion years ago) were early processes removing part of the atmosphere, but these were not prominent loss processes afterwards," said Grebowsky. "The leading theory is that Mars lost its intrinsic magnetic field that was protecting the atmosphere from direct erosion by the impact of the solar wind."

The solar wind is a thin stream of electrically charged particles (plasma) blowing continuously from the sun into space at about a million miles per hour.

Here's the video:

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Maeda Atsukoh from: Akiba
November 15, 2013 7:04 PM
Good image is first and important thing for them in order to get big budget for their salary.
Scientific theory is too difficult for most people who have only low education, so producing good image easy to understand is their fist priority.


by: Markt from: Virginia
November 15, 2013 4:32 PM
it is interested to think that Mars once could have looked like Earth, and that is certainly one artist's view of what Mars COULD have looked like......but remember that Mars is a very cold planet and any water on its surface would be ice, lots and lots of ice..not flowing rivers and thundering waterfalls.
It's nice to compare Mars and Earth in the context of what we see Earth as today, but Mars was never close enough to the Sun to be habitable enough to sustain free flowing water and lakes...and sustainable life.
Its a nice thought, and such a nice though will once again prompt me bring out the big binoculars tonight and gaze fondly into the heavens.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 14, 2013 10:10 PM
Now, I can imagine the view of Mars date back about 4 billion years. It is yet to be investigated how its dense atmosphere and water were lost. But there is one thing we could clealy say that the present-day view of Mars is the that of Earth 4 billion years later from now on.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid