Off World

MAVEN Discovers Why Mars Lost It’s Atmosphere

  • The observations reveal a new process by which the solar wind can penetrate deep into a planetary atmosphere. They include the first comprehensive measurements of the composition of Mars’ upper atmosphere and electrically charged ionosphere
  • The results also offer an unprecedented view of ions as they gain the energy that will lead to their escape from the atmosphere
  • Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder says “We are beginning to see the links in a chain that begins with solar-driven processes acting on gas in the upper atmosphere and leads to atmospheric loss”

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