According to a report from the U.S. National Aeronautics and #Space Administration (NASA), solar eruptions in the past caused the loss of a large part of the atmosphere of Mars. This led to the destruction of a climate that was favorable to the development of life on this planet.
This conclusion was reached by one of the four studies conducted by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbital probe. These conclusions were published in the journal #Science.
Joe Grebowsky, the scientist responsible for the MAVEN mission, said that the erosion was caused by the solar wind that was strong enough to destroy the Martian climate. Mars was a planet very similar to Earth billions of years ago.
But something had happened on this planet about 3.7 billion years ago. The events that happened since then have radically changed this planet's climate and turned it into a cold desert. Thus Mars became a world without life.
Scientists have wondered for a long time what had happened to the water on the surface of the planet Mars and to the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Both resources are extremely important for life. From the information obtained by MAVEN probe's mission - which is on Martian orbit for a year - the answers to these questions are much closer. Over time, this atmospheric "bleeding" turned Mars into what it is today.
The magnetosphere of the planet has lost a lot of its intensity, making it unable to protect the atmosphere. Analyzing this data, the researchers found that Mars is currently losing about 110 g of atoms in the atmosphere every second. This is caused by the solar wind; during solar storms or after solar flares, the solar wind is denser. Then the volume of the lost atmosphere of Mars increases from 10 to 20 times. The Martian atmosphere is far less than 1% of the density of Earth's atmosphere.
The scientists can calculate what type of atmosphere the planet Mars had billions of years ago based on the current rate of atmospheric loss. These results provide interesting clues about the conditions from the surface of the planet Mars in the distant past, billions of years ago. The orbital probe MAVEN has the size of a school bus and it is equipped with eight instruments. These are designed to study the different layers of the atmosphere of Mars, but also the influence of the solar wind on the atmosphere. MAVEN finishes a complete orbit around Mars in 4.5 hours