Water on a young Mars, illustration

Water on a young Mars, illustration

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Credit: M. Kornmesser/EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Water on a young Mars. Illustration of how Mars may have looked early in its history, about four billion years ago during what is known as the Noachian period. Mars formed around 4.6 billion years ago. The young planet would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of the northern hemisphere, and in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometres.

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