Mars may once have had a breathable atmosphere made mostly of hydrogen, along with a hot, humid climate, a new study says.
Researchers from Arizona State University and Stanford University concluded that Mars may have had a large number of lakes, rivers and even oceansaccording to a study published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
In this way, its current distinctive red color could have been a dazzling blue, like Earth. And not only that, researchers point out that once, the “red planet” could have a breathable atmosphere, as well as a warm and humid climate.
An atmospheric blanket of hydrogen
The study notes that this occurred at a time when the Earth was just forming, and similarly suggests that Earth’s early atmosphere Mars was mostly hydrogenand not the thick carbon dioxide atmosphere as we know it today.
On the sidelines, it is detailed that the presence of hydrogen would help explain how Mars could have been warm enough to host liquid water, when the Sun was 30 percent darker than today.
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From a model of atmospheric evolution based on high-temperature processes, the researchers infer that the main gases that emerged from the molten rock were a mixture of molecular hydrogen and water vapor; Hydrogen being a kind of greenhouse gas that enabled the permanence of water for millions of years in a liquid state.
It is worth mentioning that the warm (even hot) temperature of these oceanswas due to said greenhouse effect, continues the study.
Recently, NASA’s Curiosity rover confirmed the existence of an ocean on Mars from a topographic study, further evidence that Mars was once a blue planet.