NASA concludes Mars' atmosphere was 'blown away' by the sun

Yesterday, NASA announced a key finding from the agency’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission: that solar wind stemming from our sun blew parts of Mars’ atmosphere into space.
The MAVEN mission, which has been orbiting Mars for over a year now, was sent to study the planet’s atmosphere and determine how much of it was lost over time; transforming it from a potentially wet-and-warm world into a cold and dry environment.
NASA has confirmed that the loss of Mars’ atmosphere was due to solar wind; a stream of protons and electrons that flows from a star’s atmosphere. Solar wind can also generate a magnetic field which is capable of accelerating charged gasses in the planet’s atmosphere into space.
Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado-Boulder, stated that “Like the theft of a few coins from a cash register every day, the loss becomes significant over time…  We’ve seen that the atmospheric erosion increases significantly during solar storms, so we think the loss rate was much higher billions of years ago when the sun was young and more active.
Jakosky added that geology on Mars indicates that water was once abundant, leading researchers to believe that solar storms stripped Mars of its atmosphere at some point between 3.7 billion and 4.2 billion years ago.
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