Tag Archives: NASA Goddard

What Mars Looked Like When It Had Water, Courtesy of NASA (Video)

Today, we think of Mars as having  a cold, dry, and desolate environment (because it does).

But that was not always the case. Four billion years ago, while our Sun was still in its infancy, Mars was covered with water.

Back then, it had a much thicker atmosphere, which kept the planet warm enough for water to exist in its liquid form. Some estimates say that at one point, up to 1640 ft (about half a kilometer) of water covered the whole planet.

Many features on the surface of Mars hint at the existence of water in the past. The image above, for example, seems to show the dried-out remnants of a river delta. Click to enlarge

NASA will launch its  Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) on November 18. MAVEN’s job is to determine exactly what happened to Mars’ atmosphere during those four billion years.

In the meantime, they had their Goddard Conceptual Image Lab create a video showing what Mars might’ve looked like four billion years ago and how it changed as the atmosphere thinned out over time:

There are a number of theories as to why Mars’ atmosphere disappeared, including a major asteroid impact and the loss of its magnetic field as a result of solar winds.

NASA hopes that the data collected by MAVEN will help them solve the issue once and for all.

(h/t IFL Science)

NASA’s Official “Tour Of The Moon” (Video)

“We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon and to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own.” -George W. Bush

NASA takes us up close and personal with our beloved Moon in their recently released “Tour of the Moon” video seen below…

You may know the Moon best as a satellite you see in the night sky or the landing-place of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969. But the Moon is not just some gray rock or sterile desert, it is actually Earth’s closest companion.


Buzz Aldrin gazes at the American flag during his first moon walk

Since 1969 the Moon has been a key point of interest in the space industry, but the Moon was not just a focus in the 60s and 70s. In fact, just in the last six months China made their first ever lunar landing.

How, you may ask, would the Moon bring significant value at all to these agencies? The answer is that the Moon actually serves as a very valuable laboratory environment and testing ground for these space agencies.

A photo taken of the Earth from the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission

Scientists use the Moon as a stable location to do tests that require extremely controlled environmental variables (since it has very little air and virtually no atmosphere) and/or lower gravity.

Also, space agencies can practice launching and landing techniques in an environment with a much thinner atmosphere and lower gravity than that of Earth, which may prove essential for the progression of the space industry.

Check out this previous Higher Learning post, which contains a video from NASA that details NASA’s plans to put an asteroid into orbit around the moon for launching and landing testing.