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NASA makes shock Mars alien life announcement

NASA makes shock Mars alien life announcement

The research, published in journal Science Today, looked at data collected by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) space probe which is orbiting the planet.

The research shows the planet lost 65 percent of the noble gas argon and the majority of carbon dioxide in a process called "sputtering" billions of years ago.

"The solar wind has stripped away much of the atmosphere", said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator for MAVEN and a professor at CU's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

While there are many ways a planet can lose its atmosphere, including chemical reactions that sequester gas in the rocks, the researchers determined that solar wind and radiation are to blame. As the atmosphere thinned, the planet grew colder and life could have been forced to go underground or into rare surface oases. That's thanks to a process known as sputtering, where high-speed ions carried by the solar wind slam into Mars and knock atoms out of the atmosphere, like a cue ball on a pool table.

NASA scientists have proposed a radical idea to launch a magnetic field around Mars, with hopes it could protect the red planet from intense solar wind and allow humans to explore alongside rovers. Isotopes are atoms with different mass but of the same element.

"A large fraction of Mars' atmospheric gas has been lost to space, contributing to the transition in climate from an early, warm, wet environment to today's cold, dry atmosphere".

A new study found that Mars lost its atmosphere to space, which caused its water supplies to dry out.

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Once the amount of argon that had blown away was estimated, this could be used to calculate how much of the other gases in the atmosphere were probably lost in the same process. Since the lighter of the two isotopes escapes to space more readily, it will leave the gas remaining behind enriched in the heavier isotope. It's possible that life could have existed at the surface early in Mars' history. They focused on argon, a gas that nearly never chemically reacts with other elements. This analysis included measurements from the Martian surface made by NASA's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Curiosity rover. It since has made more than 4,000 elliptical orbits, sniffing the Martian upper atmosphere and dipping to within 100 miles of the surface in its path around the planet. Sharp that indicate exposure to water billions of years ago. Well, why do they want to know about the previous Martian atmosphere?

"Reaching 99.1 percent coverage has been tricky because a number of factors - including weather conditions, coordination with other instruments, downlink limitations and orbital constraints - tend to limit where we can image and when", Context Camera team leader Michael Malin, of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, said in the same statement.

Without the barrage of high-energy particles, Mars' atmosphere would begin to rebuild itself over time.

The scientists studied argon because as a noble gas it can't react and get locked up in rocks on the planet's surface. "We can use it to estimate the amount of Carbon dioxide that has been lost - and it has been lost in a comparable fraction".

Carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse gas," meaning it traps heat and can help warm planets.

'Using measurements from both platforms points to the value of having multiple missions that make complementary measurements'. Dan Johnston, the MRO project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, stated that MRO is an fantastic probe which hopefully will be able to help them with the Mars Exploration Program and Mars science. For comparison, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sends more data every week than the other now active missions at Mars combined.


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