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Mars Space

New Data Indicates Arctic-Ocean Sized Body of Water on Ancient Mars 58

mdsolar writes After six years of planetary observations, scientists at NASA say they have found convincing new evidence that ancient Mars had an ocean. It was probably the size of the Arctic Ocean, larger than previously estimated, the researchers reported on Thursday. The body of water spread across the low-lying plain of the planet's northern hemisphere for millions of years, they said. If confirmed, the findings would add significantly to scientists' understanding of the planet's history and lend new weight to the view that ancient Mars had everything needed for life to emerge. Update: 03/05 22:42 GMT by T : Correction: that headline should have read "Arctic" initially, rather than Antarctic.
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New Data Indicates Arctic-Ocean Sized Body of Water on Ancient Mars

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Slashdot headline: "Antarctic ocean-sized"
    Slashdot summary: "Arctic ocean sized"
    Actual article: ??? (did not read)
    Step 4: PROFIT!!

  • You just get that feeling sometimes that humans, I mean Martians, wiped out the planet. It'd make a great movie anyway!

    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday March 05, 2015 @05:34PM (#49191745) Homepage

      No, the magnetic field wasn't strong enough to shield against solar wind erosion.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You don't know that. We don't even know what made Mars's magnetic field disappear.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
          It's a tenth the mass of Earth, so it isn't that much of a stretch to suggest that its core froze up. Presumably because it was smaller and lost heat much more rapidly than a larger planet would. Solid core, no dynamo, no field. Seems reasonable to me.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Actually current evidence suggests that Mars sustained a major collision that caused it to lose its magnetic field.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You don't get dibs on that movie. Shooting is already commencing on Earth.

  • Headline says one (Antarctic) while the summary says the other (Arctic). It's like swapping the Tropic of Cancer with the Tropic of Capricorn....

    • Oh crap! Are we going to start getting bombarded by donation requests from the American Capricorn Society now?

  • Ocean sizes (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Thursday March 05, 2015 @05:34PM (#49191747) Journal

    First of all, the Slashdot headline is wrong. It is "arctic ocean" sized, not antarctic. Second, the article makes another comparison that makes more sense, since Mars and Earth aren't the same size (how big would the arctic ocean be placed on mars? Not something we can visualize). That is the ocean on Mars covered slightly more of the planet than the Atlantic ocean covers on Earth - the Mars ocean covered 19% of the planet, while the Atlantic covers 17% of the Earth. Of course the volume of water and depths are totally different.

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Thursday March 05, 2015 @06:08PM (#49191955) Homepage Journal

    Number of [American] football fields or GTFO.

  • ...did they surf, man?
    • Totally. It was way gnarly.

    • I was wondering about that myself, (not that the Martians surfed) but how high the waves might get. First of all the gravity on Mars is about 38% that of Earth, Secondly, the sea in that totally convincing graphic looks like it goes around the whole planet, like the Southern Ocean on Earth, so would 100 metre waves be possible?
  • Have we any reason to think the water was actually ever liquid on Mars's surface to any great extent.
    The young sun would have been cooler than todays. Could the water not have been present as ice, or perhaps as an ocean covered by a thick layer of ice.

  • Doctor Who reference: []

I just asked myself... what would John DeLorean do? -- Raoul Duke