NASA is now almost certain that life either once existed or at least could have existed on Mars. Readings from its two rovers, Opportunity and Curiosity, show traces of water and important minerals, such as nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus. Mars today may be an acid and dreadfully dry place. But, billions of years ago, it might have been more like Maine: warm, wet, and ideal for a homestead or two.
To dramatize these discoveries, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has created this video representation of what the environment might have looked like all that time back. Check it out below:
"The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period, beginning with a flyover of a Martian lake," NASA explains on YouTube. "The artist's concept is based on evidence that Mars was once very different. Rapidly moving clouds suggest the passage of time, and the shift from a warm and wet to a cold and dry climate is shown as the animation progresses."
By the end, Mars has transformed to the acrid environment of 2013 (all "dusty pink and tan hues"). But then, NASA is not fully discounting the possibility of a comeback. One day, life on Mars may be possible again, at least in some form.