Did Mars Ever Look Like Earth? NASA Scientist Answers

Science

Mars is quite similar to Earth, as per a NASA scientist. In a video interview, astrobiologoist Dr. Becky McCauley Rench said that the Red Planet wasn’t as dry always, as we see it today. As per NASA’s own website, “Mars, like Earth, has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons, and weather.” Signs of ancient floods have also been detected on Mars. Besides, there is evidence of liquid salty water as well, especially on some Martian hillsides, making our celestial neighbour similar to our own home planet.

On September 14, NASA shared the interview with Rench on Instagram. The question was straightforward and simple: Did Mars ever look like Earth? “Yes, we think it did. Ancient Mars may have been wetter and warmer — similar to our home planet,” Rench answered.

Explaining further, Rench added that whenever the solar system was formed 4 billion years ago, Mars and Earth were made “of the same stuff” and so they looked very similar. “Today, whenever we look at Mars, we see a very dry planet as compared to earth which is, you know, our Blue Marble,” she added.  

Shining light on what makes her believe that Mars once looked like earth, Rench said that we see evidence of past streams and maybe Mars had a shallow northern ocean as well. “However, they diverged and we have two different planets today,” she added.  

“As the Earth progressed with the development of life, on Mars the geologic activity subsided, it lost that water and became a much drier place. That’s why it’s so fascinating to study Mars. It helps us understand more about its past and future as well as understanding Earth and planetary evolution in our solar system and beyond,” she said. 

“So did Mars ever look like Earth? Yes, it did, a very, very long time ago,” Rench concluded. 

NASA says on its SpacePlace section that Mars, a cold desert world, is half the size of the earth. It’s  referred to as the Red planet because of rusty iron in the ground. “There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but now water mostly exists in icy dirt and thin clouds,” added the space agency.

Scientists have been wanting to understand if there was life on the Red Planet in the past. Missions are currently underway to figure out if Mars could support life now, or in the future.


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