Surely we were all thrilled to find out that rovers sent to Mars gathered tiny samples of water, but it looks like those discoveries were only ‘baby steps’. Mars once had tremendous amounts of water at its surface: entire rivers that dominated the Red Planet for hundreds of thousands of years.
In fact, there’s a good chance that the Red Planet wasn’t ‘red’ at that time. It could have been blue just like Earth due to the huge amounts of water.
Hellas Planitia offers new insight
A team of researchers led by Francesco Salese, who is a geologist at Utrecht University from the Netherlands, took a closer look at what was once an ancient river system on Mars, more precisely in Hellas Planitia. They had been using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
After the researchers involved studied the sedimentary layers exposed in a cliffside on the brim of Hellas Basin, they could conclude that the river flowed about 3.7 billion years ago. Study co-author Joel Davis, who is also a postdoctoral researcher at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, provided some information about how long those rivers could last:
The rivers that formed these rocks weren’t just a one-off event — they were probably active for tens to hundreds of thousands of years,
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.
But as we’re sure that liquid water existed abundantly on our neighboring planet, is there any sign of alien life dwelling there? Judging from the info we have, there isn’t any, but we certainly can’t rule out the possibility for some extraterrestrial life forms to exist on the planet before. Life as we know it cannot exist without liquid water. Therefore, if we find a time machine hidden in an attic or basement, maybe we can use it to travel back in time 3.7 billion years to see if there is any fish in the rivers of Mars.