Comparison of today's Mars (left) and ancient with water (right)
Professor of Geography at the University of Northern Illinois, Wei Law, decided to calculate how much water it took to cut the Martian valleys. His research shows that the Red Planet was much more “watery” than it was believed.
The conclusions are obvious: Mars had more favorable climatic conditions and an active hydrological cycle (water evaporated from the ocean and returned to the surface as precipitation).
Satellite observations, as well as an overview of the rovers, show that it was water that helped shape the ancient landscape. But so far it was unclear how much liquid was present on the planet.
Lo and his colleagues used an innovative algorithm to more accurately calculate the volume of “emptiness” in the valleys and the amount of water required for their occurrence. Most of the time - 3 billion years.
Luo said that their lowest marks were 10 times higher than previous figures.
Moreover, the new quantity is one order greater than the volume of the hypothetical ocean and 4000 times the volume of the cavities of the valleys. Where to store so much water? Remember the earth processes. Lo suggests that the water passed through the valleys many times, evaporated and settled again. This requires a huge reservoir and small ones, so that oceans, rivers, lakes and sediments could be present on Mars.
But the models fail to recreate the ancient Martian climatic conditions so that they are warm enough for such a cycle. Mars is farther than we, and the ancient Sun was inferior in brightness to the modern.
To calculate the volume of cavities in the valleys, computer algorithms were used based on those applied to high-resolution ground-based laser analyzes. Until the mystery of the Martian climate is deciphered, the water issue remains open.