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
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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid