About 3 to 4 billion years ago, the Martian environment was completely different from the cold inhabitable desert it is today. At that time, the Martian environment was much warmer with a habitable atmosphere that might have had rainstorms that could have supported basic life.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Purdue University, Indiana in the United States and presented by Professor Briony Horgan at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Barcelona, as reported by Phys Org. The researchers compared data from Earth and data collected by NASA CRISM spectrometer and from the Curiosity Rover.
The NASA CRISM spectrometer is still orbiting the Red Planet and has been able to identify locations where there was water by detection of surface chemicals. The data showed that 3 to 4 million years ago, the climate on the Red Planet was much warmer which led to rainstorms and flowing water. But then there was a cold period where the water froze.
It has been known that there was water on Mars but there was almost no consensus whether the water was in liquid or solid-state. Warm conditions mean that life would have been able to develop on its own on the surface of ancient Mars, according to researchers. The new comparison between the patterns of mineral deposition on the Red Planet and similar depositions on Earth points to the fact that Mars had at least one long period which had rainstorms and flowing water and then later water freezing during the cold period.
On analyzing the surface geology of Mars, it is observed that a shift from a warmer to a colder climate did occur, but the climate models don’t support the observation as at the time, a limited amount of heat was arriving from the young Sun. The researchers said that they need to keep working on their climate models so that they can conclude whether Mars once had flowing water.