The reason for the appearance of the "one-day ocean" on Mars could be asteroids


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    Mars is still a mystery to scientists. There is no consensus on what the Red Planet was in the past. Someone believes that in ancient times Mars was warm and humid , while someone else - that it was dry and cold , with short-term moisture, if I may say so. At the same time, the ocean in the distant past of the planet (and almost no one doubts its existence) could have arisen during the bombardment of Mars by asteroids. In this case, the ocean existed for a very short time, says Tim Parker from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

    4 billion years ago, not only Mars, but also other planets of the solar system were actively bombarded by both asteroids and comets. Perhaps these celestial bodies brought water with them, and also warmed the planet. As a result, a whole ocean of liquid water appeared, which existed for a very short time due to the loose atmosphere of Mars. Part of the ocean just evaporated, and part - froze.


    This region, scientists say, was clearly under water for a long time (Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

    Tim Parker believes that the ocean of Mars could last several hundred million years, no more. This hypothesis clarifies many modern features of the atmosphere of Mars. If we accept that everything was as Parker says, we can assume that the atmosphere of the Red Planet was always rarefied, and not try to come up with a reason why the atmosphere for some time lost some of its mass and became less dense.

    Opportunity, the Mars rover that has been exploring Mars for more than a decade, has repeatedly found valleys that were clearly formed by water. The morphology and composition of rocks in such regions are similar to some places on Earth, where large amounts of water have been actively evaporated. Evaporation may be indicated by polygonal cracks also detected by Opportunity (photo above).

    Most modern models of the evolution of Mars suggest that in ancient times the planet’s atmosphere was denser and wetter than it is now, which made it possible for liquid water to exist on the surface. But here it is also necessary to explain where in this case part of this dense and humid atmosphere went. And if you accept the Parker hypothesis - everything falls into place.

    In order to confirm or refute this hypothesis, it is necessary to further study the surface of Mars, the features of the landscape and the composition of rocks of the planet.

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