It must take a lot of imagination to determine what Mars might have looked like if it was or could have been a wet, habitable planet years and years in the past. One software engineer, Kevin Gill didn’t want to waste time simply imagining the possibility of Mars as a planet full of life and greenery; instead, he built it.

Gill created his vision of ancient Mars via a two-dimensional digital elevation model using a program that allowed him to pick a sea level and script a terrain using specifics, like volcanoes and other landscapes on today’s Mars, to inform the coloration of his model. Data from NASA also helped. However, the engineer is quick to point out that there is no scientific reasoning behind his pictures and that they are merely a “What if” rendering gleefully painted from his imagination.

Gill first made his information available via his Google + account, which gives viewers a comprehensive picture of his vision and processes. As Gill himself noted, some of the volcanic areas are devoid of green life and some of the subtropical and tropical regions on the paint by number map were deeply green to match similar areas mapped on Earth. Seeing Mars changed from the red, dry, arid pictures of the planet we have all grown up with, and that have been immersed into culture via NASA, science class, and even motion pictures like John Carter is really kind of refreshing, even if it’s full of fiction.

Photo credit @Kevin Gill

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