Ancient Mars could have been wet but cold three billion years ago

(ORDO NEWS) — The team of researchers created climate models on the surface of Mars, which showed the existence of an ocean in the northern part of the Red Planet about 3 billion years ago, and also that the planet’s climate was likely to be wet and cold.

Mars scientists have been puzzled by the features of the planet’s surface – where conflicting evidence of an ocean, for example, has been found despite abundant evidence of rivers, lakes and streams. However, other scientists have also found signs of a tsunami that strongly suggest the presence of an ocean.

In this new study, the scientists suggest that part of the problem with understanding the history of the Martian climate is that the presence of an ocean is associated with a warm and humid climate, while alternative scenarios usually describe a planet without an ocean, dry and cold. The authors propose a third option – a cold and humid planet.

They suggest that the existence of an ocean on the Red Planet was possible, despite the cold temperatures, if there was enough hydrogen in the atmosphere.

They note that if hydrogen concentrations reached at least 10 percent (its sources could be volcanoes or, for example, space collisions), and the rest was carbon dioxide, then this was enough for a small greenhouse effect.

Under this scenario, ocean water could be close to freezing but still exist in liquid form if circulation provided heat transfer and some rain. They further suggest that such an ocean probably existed in the northern part of the planet, since there is a large bowl that could be filled with water.

In this case, large areas of the southern hemisphere of the planet could be covered with ice, and glaciers cut off large areas of land leading to the ocean. By feeding this data into a model, they found that their scenario could explain the appearance of the surface of ancient Mars around 3 billion years ago.


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