NASA scientists report that the presence of an ocean on Mars in the past is not just a fictional reality of science fiction writers. Recent studies have shown that around the north pole of Mars, in the place of the modern plains, in the past there could well have been a real ocean.
Modern Mars is dry land of the Sahara Desert, although the water on it remained in the form of ice caps and permafrost in the depths of the soil. To calculate the volume of water contained in the past on the red planet, scientists measured the amount of hydrogen isotopes in the planet's atmosphere using two powerful telescopes.
According to researchers, about 4, 3 billion years ago, the volume of water on Mars exceeded 20 km 3. It is assumed that the water mass was not evenly distributed over the land surface, but concentrated in the northern hemisphere. The Martian ocean covered 19% of the surface, and in some depressions the water depth reached 1.6 km. This is even more in volume than our Arctic Ocean, and in terms of the percentage of the occupied surface, it exceeds that of the Atlantic.
Compared to the original Mars, the amount of water there today is 6.5 times less, which indicates the incredible leakage of water from the planet, which began 3.7 billion years ago. The quality of today's water and its chemical structure have also undergone changes. NASA scientists note that the water remaining on Mars is predominantly HDO (instead of H 2 O), where D is deuterium, which replaced the hydrogen atom. Deuterium makes the water heavier, so that part of the water just did not leak from the Martian surface into the atmosphere.
The results obtained give rise to more optimistic forecasts regarding the question "Was there life on Mars?"