When some people might think of the color red, they might think of a variety of things, such as warmth, blood, or the conveniently nicknamed Red planet, Mars.
Although we know that Mars is now a desolate and cold, a recent study shows that the currently unlivable planet might not have always been like this.
Earth is protected by our Moon from comets and asteroids that can potentially crash into our home planet and alter the living conditions of the planet entirely, but according to researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Mars' past bombardment by the space projectiles might have made the planet more livable than it is now.
According to the study, the impact from the asteroids and comets might have produced enough heat to melt the subsurface ice, resulting in an environment that could sustain chemically-powered microbes, similar to that in Yellowstone National Park.
"Massive impacts from comets and asteroids likely would have also caused the planet's atmospheric pressure to increase temporarily," researcher Stephen Mojzsis explained about the past higher temperatures which were unable to keep the planet consistently warm. "This study shows the ancient bombardment of Mars by comets and asteroids would have been greatly beneficial to life there, if life was present."
The bombardment of Mars in the past does provide some explanation for the traces of running water evidence found on the planet's ancient river valleys, but there is still no solid evidence to prove that life ever existed. From their simulations, the researchers concluded that Mars was at least warmer due to the asteroid collisions for a few million years before it became the planet we know today.
With the results from this study, perhaps this can provide more insight for researchers to predict the future living conditions of our own planet.
"Studies of Mars provide us with valuable information about our own place in the solar system," said Mojzsis about the study. "Our next steps are to model similar bombardment on Mercury and Venus to better understand the evolution of the inner solar system and apply that knowledge to studies of planets around other stars."