Mars Evolution from Wet to Dry

  • Released Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
  • Updated Thursday, November 9th, 2023 at 12:29PM

These animations were originally created to accompany Invisible Mars, a Science-on-a-Sphere live presentation for the MAVEN mission. The animations have been rendered for use in other formats, including the NASA Hyperwall. Learn more about MAVEN and about the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

Credit: Created for the MAVEN mission by the Lunar and Planetary Institute

This is an artist's model of an early Mars — billions of years ago — which may have had oceans and a thicker atmosphere. It was created by filling Mars' lower altitudes with water and adding cloud cover. The locations for the ancient ocean are based on current altitudes and do not reflect the actual ancient topography.

This animation transitions from an early, wet Mars to present-day dry Mars.

This animation transitions from an early, wet Mars to present-day dry Mars, and back again.

This artist's model shows where the landing sites are on Mars for Viking 1 & 2, Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix, and Curiosity, in comparison to possible locations of an early ocean which may have existed billions of years ago. In this depiction, the atmosphere is thicker than the present-day Mars atmosphere, which is only about 1% of Earth’s. The locations for the ancient ocean are based on current altitudes and do not reflect the actual ancient topography.

This is an updated map of landing sites on Mars that includes Viking 1 & 2, Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix, and Curiosity.

This animation transitions from present-day dry Mars to an early, wet Mars.

This is a map of current Mars, created using NASA mission data. It can be compared with the artists' rendering for an early, wet Mars and the landing sites on Mars.

For More Information



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/MAVEN/Lunar and Planetary Institute


Missions

This visualization is related to the following missions: