Mars is known as “the red planet”, but was it always like that? Scientists are theorizing that it may have once been like Earth.
It’s hard to imagine what Mars might have looked like with water and thick atmosphere sporting clouds. Now try to imagine what ancient Mars might look like with its own biosphere.
Using elevation data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Kevin Gill, a software engineer, was inspired to create the rendering of a virtual red planet with a difference, as he told Discovery News:
“I had been doing similar models of Earth and have seen attempts by others of showing life on Mars, so I figured I’d give it a go. It was a good way to learn about the planet, be creative and improve the software I was rendering it in.”
In the rendering, an ocean dominates one side of the planet, feeding one of the longest valleys in the solar system, Vallis Marineris. The peaks of Mars’ huge volcanoes dominate the Tharsis Bulge with their peaks above the atmosphere. Gill imagined that the high-altitude region would likely be a desert where very little would grow, whereas lower altitudes would support a more humid climate and more greenery.
As the Mars rover Curiosity travels the surface of the planet, we are discovering very river-bed-like sand in a massive valley that could have once been underwater.
It is also known that the Martian atmosphere was once much thicker. Over the eons, the solar wind has been eroding the upper atmosphere — as without a global magnetic field, the solar wind runs unabated. So far, though, there is next to no real evidence that the world used to support flora or fauna, let alone an atmosphere capable of sustaining life, says FOX News.
For those with a fascination for Mars, like NASA perhaps, this is a wonderful alternative version of a planet have always assumed a lifeless red.
Could the surface of Mars be a sign of what Earth will be like in millions of years?