NASA’s MAVEN Orbiter Discovers Solar Wind Stripped Away Mars Atmosphere Causing Radical Transformation

Artist's rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet's upper atmosphere.  Credits: NASA/GSFC

Artist’s rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet’s upper atmosphere. Credits: NASA/GSFC

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter mission has determined that ancient Mars suffered drastic climate change and lost its thick atmosphere and surface bodies of potentially life giving liquid water because it lost tremendous quantities of gas to space via stripping by the solar wind, based on new findings that were announced today, Nov. 5, at a NASA media briefing and in a series of scientific publications.

The process of Mars dramatic transformation from a more Earth-like world to its barren state today started about 4.2 Billion years ago as the shielding effect of the global magnetic field was lost as the planets internal dynamo cooled, Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, told Universe Today.

The radical transformation of ancient Mars from a(…)
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© Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2015. |
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