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Mars - Water

One of the basic fundamentals for life, as we know it, is abundant water.   The possibility of life on the planet Mars has always fascinated mankind.  The evidence for a wet history on Mars has fueled this interest.   This paper will describe and weave together the various lines of evidence to present a case of the large scale fluvial activity that existed on Mars at one time, and perhaps still does exist.  This will include the canyon systems, channels, valleys, ice in the Martian regolith, polar deposits, the water budget, lakes and a possible ancient ocean.   Many of the features on Mars that look like they were created by flowing or standing water.  Could they have been formed by aeolian activity or volcanoes?  Why do we think it was water?  What happened to the water on Mars?  How much water was there?   There is extensive, but disjointed presentation of this material. The goal for this research is to pull it all together in on cogent work.

Mars of Christmas Past
     The Mars we see today is very different from the Mars that existed after the formation of the solar system.   3.5 billion years ago Mars was much like the Earth in terms of water content.  It was drenched.  The Mars of that epoch would have looked very blue from space, with atmospheric  water in the form of clouds.  The northern half of the planet would have been a large, continuous ocean, with the southern highlands forming the landmass.  So what happened to this wet oasis?

  Before we can answer this question, we must first understand the Mars we see today.  The next sections provide an overview of the planet’s size, composition, gross morphology and volatiles.  From there, we can look more deeply at the details of the land and evidence of the water that once existed.

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