A new animation by NASA Goddard’s Conceptual Image Lab shows that four billion years ago, Mars may have looked much more similar to Earth than the barren, desert-like Mars we know today.
The animation is based on previous NASA findings of mineral presence and patterns inside craters that suggests there was once water flowing on our solar system neighbor.
“Billions of years ago, when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water — a critical ingredient for life,” NASA explained in the video’s YouTube description.
The video begins with a flyover of a martian lake. It then progresses over time, showing the drying of the lakes and the transition of Mars’ sky from blue to “the dusty pink and tan hues” found there now. It ends with an illustration of the MAVEN mission, scheduled to launch Monday, which will investigate what caused Mars to lose its atmosphere.
But more interestingly, this video could show the future for Earth — perhaps in four billion years, our planet will resemble a cold, red planet.