This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

It is exhausting to think about that the dry, dusty and inhospitable Mars we’re conversant in right this moment may have been a large swimming pool. However go forward and movie a blue marble shining in house. 

Scientists are fairly certain there was a good quantity of water on Mars in its earlier days. A global workforce has labored out a brand new estimate for simply how a lot water the planet might need had 4.5 billion years in the past. Their conclusion? Lots. A lot it may have lined the planet in a worldwide ocean 1,000 ft (300 meters) deep if it was all unfold out. 

The study published in Science Advances on Wednesday factors to asteroids as a supply mechanism for water on early Mars. “At the moment, Mars was bombarded with asteroids crammed with ice. It occurred within the first 100 million years of the planet’s evolution,” said study co-author Martin Bizzarro in a College of Copenhagen assertion on Thursday. The researchers noticed clues to this exercise by finding out the composition of Martian meteorites discovered on Earth. They labored out how a lot of the valuable liquid the asteroids might need packed after they dive-bombed the planet way back. 

This is not only a story of water, it is also a narrative of how early Mars may have been liveable. “One other fascinating angle is that the asteroids additionally carried natural molecules which are biologically essential for all times,” Bizzarro stated. Mars could have been welcoming to life lengthy earlier than Earth was. 

Researchers have seen plenty of proof for previous oceans and water move on Mars. NASA’s Perseverance rover is presently investigating an ancient river delta and lakebed within the Jezero Crater because it seems for indicators of historical life. A 2015 research instructed the planet hosted a primitive ocean greater than Earth’s Arctic Ocean. That paper estimated there was sufficient water for a worldwide ocean 450 ft (137 meters) deep. The brand new work bumps that up significantly.

Over time, Mars misplaced a lot of its water, although researchers are nonetheless understanding the place it went. Some was possible misplaced to house, however some might need been trapped in minerals in the planet’s crust. And there is an ongoing debate about possible reservoirs of liquid water hiding out beneath the Martian polar cap.

Scientists will proceed to remain busy teasing out the historical past of Mars water. We would not have the ability to swim there right this moment, however the historical previous was a unique story.

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