Mars is called the red planet. But for once it was actually blue and covered in water, bringing us closer to finding out if life ever existed on Mars.
Most researchers agree that there was water on Mars, but the amount of water is still debated.
A study by the University of Copenhagen shows that about 4.5 billion years ago, there was enough water for the entire planet to be covered by an ocean 300 meters deep.
“At this time, Mars was bombarded by ice-filled asteroids. This happened in the first 100 million years of the planet’s evolution. Another interesting perspective is that asteroids also carried organic molecules that are biologically important for life,” says Professor Martin Bizarro. from the Star and Planet Formation Center.
In addition to water, icy asteroids also brought biologically important molecules such as amino acids to the Red Planet. Amino acids are used when DNA and RNA form the bases that contain everything a cell needs.
The study was published in the journal Achievements of science.
Perhaps there were conditions for life on Mars before Earth
A new study shows that the oceans that covered the entire planet with water were at least 300 meters deep. Their depth could be up to one kilometer. In comparison, there is actually very little water on Earth, explains Martin Bizarro.
“This happened during the first 100 million years of Mars’ existence. After that period, something catastrophic happened for potential life on Earth. It is believed that there was a giant collision between Earth and another planet the size of Mars. It was an energetic collision that formed the Earth-Moon System and at the same time destroyed all potential life on Earth,” says Martin Bizarro.
Thus, researchers have really strong evidence that the conditions that allowed the emergence of life existed on Mars long before Earth.
The meteorite is a billion years old
It is with the help of a meteorite, which is billions of years old, that researchers were able to look into the past history of Mars. The meteorite was once part of the primordial crust of Mars and provides a unique insight into what was happening at the time the solar system was forming.
The whole secret lies in how the surface of Mars – of which a meteorite was once a part – was formed, because it is a surface that does not move. On Earth, it’s the other way around. Tectonic plates are in eternal motion and are reworked in the bowels of the planet.
“Plate tectonics on Earth has erased all evidence of what happened in the first 500 million years of our planet’s history. The plates are constantly moving, moving back and collapsing in the depths of our planet. In contrast, there is no such plate tectonics on Mars, the surface of the planet preserves records of the planet’s earliest history,” explains Martin Bizarro.