According to a NASA scientist, Mars is very similar to Earth. In a video interview, astrobiologist Dr. Becky McCauley Ranch said that the Red Planet was not always as dry as we see today. According to NASA’s own website, “Mars, like Earth, has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons and seasons.” There have also been signs of ancient floods on Mars. In addition, there is also evidence of liquid salty water, especially on some Martian hills, that make our celestial neighbor similar to our own home planet.
On September 14, NASA shared the interview with Ranch on Instagram. The question was simple and straightforward: Did Mars ever look like Earth? “Yeah, we think it did. Ancient Mars may have been wet and warm—similar to our home planet,” Ranch replied.
Elaborating further, Ranch said that even when the Solar System was formed 4 billion years ago, Mars and Earth were made of “the same stuff” and therefore looked very similar. “Today, whenever we look at Mars, we see a much drier planet than Earth, you know, our blue marble,” she said.
Shedding light on how Mars once looked like Earth, Ranch said we see evidence of past currents and that Mars probably had a shallow northern ocean as well. “However, they broke apart and today we have two separate planets,” she said.
“As Earth progressed with the development of life, geological activity on Mars decreased, it lost that water and became a more arid place. That’s why studying Mars is so fascinating. It tells us its past and future.” helps to understand more about Earth and the evolution of the planets in our Solar System and beyond,” she said.
“So did Mars ever look like Earth? Yes, it was a long, long time ago,” Ranch concluded.
NASA says on its Space Place section that Mars, a cold desert world, is half the size of Earth. It is called the Red Planet because of the rusty iron in the ground. “There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but now the water is mostly present in icy dirt and thin clouds,” the space agency said.
Scientists want to know if there was life on the Red Planet in the past. Missions are currently underway to find out whether Mars can support life now or in the future.