Pick Me to Go To Mars!

This map depicts a hypothetical Mars with oceans. The view could represent a stage of terraforming (not an early Mars, since the ocean areas do not correspond to such hypotheses). The base map is from the USGS Flagstaff web site, with oceans added based on elevation data from a USGS map at Solar Views and a cloud map modified from one at Visible Earth. Map centered on 180° longitude.

The good ol’ red planet may have been blue. New research in Nature suggests that massive oceans once covered a third of its surface. What is the evidence? Ragged, km high features on the planet’s surface are actually shorelines. NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor sent back topographical data that showed the dips and peaks along the features ranged up to three kilometres from the deepest dip to highest peak. On earth if you drained a basin the shoreline would be flat. What accounts for the complex shoreline of Mars? A major shift of mass, possibly triggered by a volcanic eruption, caused the pole to wander about 50 degrees towards its current location, dramatically warping the topography and shorelines.

I can’t help but wonder if life was on Mars was it deep-sea life? If NASA wants to contact me to discuss this more or ship me to Mars just leave a comment at the bottom.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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