Ancient Mars was a warm desert, scientists believe

The climate of ancient Mars is now the subject of heated discussions. Some researchers believe that Mars was warm and humid, like the Earth, while other researchers are confident that the bulk of the surface of the early Red Planet was covered with ice. In a new study, planetologists led by Ramses Ramirez of the Institute of Earth and Life Sciences of the University of Tokyo, Japan, show that the surface of early Mars could only be partially covered with ice, while the rest of the surface could be supported by warm climatic conditions and Showers.

At present, scientists have already agreed on the existence of water on ancient Mars – the water on the Red Planet was definitely present. However, disputes about the nature of the climate of ancient Mars have not ceased for several decades. Mars demonstrates surprisingly rich landscapes, including river valleys, basins of ancient lakes and possible shorelines of the ancient oceans. These geological forms indicate that in ancient times Mars could be warm and humid, like the Earth.

However, supporters of the alternative hypothesis regarding the climate of ancient Mars also have their arguments. Thus, studies have shown that the amount of solar energy reaching the Red Planet in antiquity was insufficient to maintain a warm and humid climate. In addition, it was shown that in the presence of a large amount of ice on the surface of Mars, the observed valleys and basins of lakes could form in short periods of ice melting.

However, in the new work, Ramirez and his team show that Mars was still mostly wet and warm, because extensive geological and climatological analysis did not reveal signs of extensive icing of the planet’s surface. Also according to the researchers, the climate of ancient Mars was not as wet as the Earth’s climate – the precipitation level was about 10 centimeters per year and less, which is comparable to the level of precipitation of the most arid regions of the globe.