As we attempt to derive theoretical limits on the habitability of planets around other stars, understanding the evolution of the rocky planets in our own solar system becomes ever more critical. Mars contains abundant geological evidence for an ancient water cycle, so its history is of particular interest. Was the Martian climate once capable of supporting life? If so, why did it change? How important was the size of Mars to its evolution? Here we describe recent 3D modeling of climate scenarios for Mars as early as 4 Gyr. We analyse the effects of clouds (CO2
O) and water vapour on the surface temperature in the primitive, denser Martian atmosphere, and discuss the likely nature of the early hydrological cycle. Finally, we assess the implications of our results in the more general context of exoplanet research.
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ExoClimes 2010, Exeter, Tuesday 7th