Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ocean Used to Wash Martian Shores

This 23 March, 2004 NASA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a crater in Utopia Planitia on Mars. (AFP/NASA)

There used to be an ocean on Mars about three billion years ago and its remains can still be observed, Russian scientists said. “Our studies have shown that an ocean existed in the Utopia Planitia region on the Red Planet,” Mikhail Ivanov from Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences told ITAR-TASS news agency. The glaciation of the ocean began during the Hesperian Period, which lasted on Mars about 3.5 – 2.9 billion years ago, the planetologist said.  “At that time, according to our hypothesis, the planet had constant hydrosphere and in the Utopia Planitia region there was an ocean, which was a rounded basin of impact origin,” he explained.

According to Ivanov, the evidence, which proves the existence of an ocean on Mars, are the huge muddy whirls in the Utopia Planitia, distinctive terrain and readings obtained from research vehicles. 

The Utopia Planitia is the largest recognized impact basin – formed by a collision with another celestial body – in the solar system, with an estimated diameter of 3300 kilometers. 

The Hesperian Period is also characterized by the appearance of lava fields, which began covering with ice, and that might’ve caused the glaciation of the Martian ocean, he added. 

The scientist also said that there are reasons to believe that a biosphere existed on the Red Planet during the period as formations similar to fossilized remains of microorganisms were discovered in three meteorites of Martian origin. 

In June, NASA’s Opportunity rover discovered traces of water on the Red Planet, confirming earlier finding by the Curiosity research vehicle. 

The robot analyzed clay like formation on the Martian surface, which could only be formed in the presence of a large amount of water, which the US researchers described as neutral and nearly fresh. 

But the US rovers are still unable to discover methane gas on Mars, which would prove that life used to exist on the planet. 

Credit: rt.com

1 comment:

  1. The assertion is correct about the time and that it was covered with water. This is in conjunction with the time that a planet takes to evolve from one to the next with about 1,5 billion years for transition. This is showing , along with all the USED TO HAVE and USED TO BE and SIGNS OF..statements , that there are comparisms between earth and mars. We are how ever looking at these with static eyes rather than the dynamism which is the requirement in such a motive environoment. MARS EVOLVED FROM WHAT USED TO BE EARTH AS EARTH EVOLVED FROM FORMER VENUS. Its that simple. Its like seeing a man walking by with flaccid muscles and a patch of hair on his head and saying that he is a stange being and there is a chance that he could be a species of human. However we can now perceive how he looked as a teen and as a toddler from current software. We thus first need to admit that there is a correlation between the man we are observiing and aging. We agree that everything in the universe changes over time. We however seem to be fearful of attributing the same aging process to planets. The difference between a toddler and an old man is as vast as the difference between mercury and saturn but we have difficultly in admitting that like everything else on the planet and in the universe planets EVOLVE.... So my Theory of Evolution of Planets details that process