Il primitivo oceano di Marte, secondo le analisi e le simulazioni degli specialisti della NASA, era situato nell'emisfero nord e copriva circa il 20% del pianeta, era più esteso del Mar Glaciale Artico e con una profondità paragonabile a quella del Mediterraneo.
After conducting a ground-based analysis of the water in the Red Planet's atmosphere, a team led by Geronimo Villanueva of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has determined that not only was Mars once home to an ocean bigger than the Arctic Ocean, but also how much of that water has been lost.
"Our study provides a solid estimate of how much water Mars once had, by determining how much water was lost to space," Villanueva said. "With this work, we can better understand the history of water on Mars."
The volume of this ocean, which existed some 4.3 billion years ago, would have been at least 20 million cubic kilometres (5 million cubic miles). The Arctic Ocean has a volume of just over 18 million cubic kilometres.
On Mars, this volume would have been sufficient to cover the planet's entire surface in a liquid layer 137 metres (450 feet) deep -- however, the more likely scenario is that the ocean covered almost half of the planet's northern hemisphere, the low-lying Northern Plains -- around 19 percent of the surface of Mars -- reaching depths of 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) in places.