Today’s Martian weather forecast calls for a hat, sunglasses and anything that will protect you from a planet-wide storm of hellish dust. But a few billion years ago, you might’ve been able to get by with just a pair of galoshes.
By Brandon Specktor | SPACE.com
According to a new study published May 22 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the entire surface of the Red Planet may have been covered in a single ocean about 3 billion years ago. The water would have been shallow — only about 4 inches (20 centimeters) deep, the study authors wrote. But Mars‘ „Waterworld“ phase would have been just one consequence of a much larger phenomenon.
Beginning about 3.5 billion years ago and continuing for up to 500 million years after that, an outbreak of massive volcanic eruptions may have changed every aspect of the Martian geosphere, the authors wrote.
„[These eruptions] would have marked a pivotal point in the atmospheric, surface and interior evolution of Mars,“ lead study author and famed Mars-water-finder Lujendra Ojha, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, said in a statement.
And, unfortunately for conspiracy enthusiasts, Mars‘ eruptive past may also mean the famed site of a suspected UFO crash landing is merely the result of ancient, world-shattering volcanoes. (How dull.) [Seeing Things on Mars: A History of Martian Illusions]