The historic announcement by NASA revealed interesting facts about Mars.
Michael Myer stated that solar winds from the Sun destroyed the atmosphere on Mars. The atmosphere on Mars currently has the atmosphere that is equal to 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere.
In theory, the similar fate could strike the atmosphere, oceans and life on Earth, because the same solar winds have an impact on our planet. However, our planet has a big magnetic shield which prevents particles from escaping. However, if we lost this magnetic field, our planet would become another Mars.
Data collected during MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) mission allowed researchers to figure out the rate at which the Martian atmosphere at this time is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind.
Further details of the MAVEN mission will be published in the latest issue of the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters.
According to John Grunsfeld, who is an astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington, the atmosphere on Mars can support liquid water, which is considered the main condition for the existence of life. Further discoveries will shed light on what causes the changes and evolution of any planetary atmosphere.
Even though the solar wind strips away about 100 grams of gas each second, the loss becomes significant over time. The loss was even bigger in the past, when the Sun was more active.
It was concluded that Martian climate changed over time due to mentioned circumstances.
A stream of particles, mainly protons and electrons, flows from the Sun in the form of a solar wind. The speed of the solar wind can reach a speed of about one million miles per hour. The solar wind also carries a magnetic field, which can generate an electric field in the vicinity of Mars.
This magnetic field releases ions from Mars’ upper atmosphere into space.
It is believed that between 4.2 and 3.7 billion billions of years ago, Mars had a climate suitable for rivers, lakes and perhaps even oceans of liquid water.
Apart from atmospheric losses caused by solar winds, scientists on MAVEN project are also studying other loss processes.
The scientists also analyzed levels of gas xenon in rock layers in order to compare them to ancient meteorites from Mars. Scientists also concluded that xenon can be found in the Martian atmosphere. Xenon is the key element, which can reveal the history of planets different from Earth. It also reveals how Mars lost its atmosphere.