An ancient ice-age primitive ocean on Mars with more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean but scientists are surprised where the water had gone now, according to NASA. If they find an answer, then future Mars mission will be feasible with essential survival kits.
“Our study provides a solid estimate of how much water Mars once had, by determining how much water was lost to space,” said Geronimo Villanueva, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Traceable to about 4.3 billion years ago, Mars would have been covered with a layer of water on its entire surface with 450 feet depth. the ocean would have occupied nearly half of its northern hemisphere and in some regions the depth would have been almost a mile or more, they said.
Based on observations made at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, and the W.M. Keck Observatory and NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii, the researchers distinguished the chemical components of two slightly different forms of water on Mars, one of them familiar H2O found on earth and the other HDO, in which hydrogen is replaced by deuterium.
The study conducted for over six years or three Martian years reveal regional differences and seasonal changes, even though modern Mars has turned into a desert. Mars’ north and south pole ice caps hold the planet’s largest known water reservoir of about 3.7 billion years old. They said Mars must have lost 6.5 times of its current water reseroir.
The ancient ocean would have covered 19% of the planet’s surface, whichis larger than Earth’s Atlantic Ocean that occupies 17% of Earth’s surface.
“With Mars losing that much water, the planet was very likely wet for a longer period of time than was previously thought, suggesting it might have been habitable for longer,” said Michael Mumma, a senior scientist at Goddard. the findings have been published in Science magazine.
In 2016, a Mars lander mission called InSight will take up deeper study of Mars interior and NASA’s next rover will reach by 2021. NASA is also planning a human spaceflight for future round-trip missions to Mars in the 2030s.
scientists who, using ground-based observatories, measured water signatures in the Red Planet’s atmosphere.
Scientists have been searching for answers to why this vast water supply left the surface.