One of the reasons that NASA is so interested in Mars is to determine if the planet once had water on its surface. If there was water, there is a chance that the planet once had life of some sort as well. NASA has been studying the planet with rovers and orbiters for a long time and scientist have now made a new determination.
NASA scientists have determined that the Red Planet once held more water on its surface than is found in the Earth’s Arctic Ocean. Researchers say that the planet has lost 87% of that water to space.
The determination that the planet once had a large amount of water on its surface was made using grand-based observatories that measures water signatures in the atmosphere of Mars and comparing them to the water ratio trapped in a Mars meteorite from 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists are still trying to figure out what caused all the water on the surface of the planet to disappear.
About 4.3 billion years ago, Mars had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 450 feet deep according to the scientists. The water is believed to have formed an ocean occupying about half of the northern hemisphere of the planet.