Mars once had an ocean
We all are intrigued by space. And Mars tops the list of the most-fascinating planet right now. Mostly because humans want to colonise it.
Right now, this fourth planet from the Sun is cold and lifeless, but scientists believe it once had a large ocean. A new study looking at the Martian transition from water-filled to barren argues that just like ancient Earth, ancient Mars was struck by an extremely powerful mega-tsunami that was triggered by a large asteroid.
The theory calls to mind images of Earth’s own transformation approximately 65 million years ago, when an asteroid named Chicxulub triggered a mass extinction event and altered the planet’s history. There’s no firm understanding of how the mega tsunami would have affected Mars, but the planet would have seen waves up to 1,000 feet tall crashing down.
Francois Costard, an astronomer at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, is the lead author of the new study promoting the theory, which was published in JGR Planets. The paper suggests the tsunami took place on the Martian northern hemisphere approximately 3.5 billion years ago.
The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. It was known to the ancient Greeks as Ares, their god of war. This is thought to be because of the blood-red color of the planet which was also used by other ancient cultures. Chinese astronomers call Mars the “fire star” while ancient Egyptian priests called it “Her Desher” meaning “the red one”.