SCIENCE
11/14/2013 03:27 pm ET

NASA Animation Shows What Mars May Have Looked Like Billions Of Years Ago (VIDEO)

Ever pondered what our nearest planetary neighbor Mars may have looked like billions of years ago? Then ponder no more.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has released the vibrant animation above, entitled "Mars Evolution." The video shows a likely scenario four billion years ago that is sure to astound you. The YouTube video's description explains:

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. The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period, beginning with a flyover of a Martian lake. 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. The lakes dry up, while the atmosphere gradually transitions from Earthlike blue skies to the dusty pink and tan hues seen on Mars today.

The latter portion of the video shows Mars as it appears now, based on video footage and images captured during recent NASA Mars missions. But seeing the red planet a lot more green and lush once upon a time is quite a sight to behold!

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