In celebration of the MAVEN (that’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) probe launch last month, NASA released this video showcasing a computer-generated flyover of what Mars may have looked like four billion years ago, when the planet is believed to have contained liquid water (and, possibly, life).
“Billions of years ago when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water – a critical ingredient for life. The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period, beginning with a flyover of a Martian lake.“
The video, while short, gives us an idea of how Mars began as a very Earth-like planet, and eventually changed to the cold, dusty and dry world we know today.
Click here to read more about NASA’s MAVEN mission. The probe launched on November 18, 2013, and will reach Mars later next year. Once at the Red Planet, it will enter an areocentric elliptic orbit and study the Martian atmosphere in an attempt to ascertain why it and the planet’s water were lost over time (and determine if this video is at all accurate).