NOV 12, 2015 5:17 AM PST

Solar Winds Have Made Mars Cold and Dry


NASA's mission to explore the atmosphere and evolution of the climate on Mars reported some startling information this week. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) team reported that at one time Mars was probably a warm, wet planet much more capable of sustaining life. In a press release, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado Bruce Jakosky said MAVEN measurements indicated that the solar winds were stripping gas away from the planet at a high rate, leaving it dry and cold. "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."

It wasn't just storms from ancient history either. MAVEN found that in March of 2015 a series of intense storms hit the planet and accelerated the loss even further. The solar winds, full of protons and electrons, are coming at Mars from three different directions. The relentless barrage has made the planet cold and unlikely to support life.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUL 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Engineer Human Cartilage in Space
JUL 19, 2020
Scientists Engineer Human Cartilage in Space
Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Kononenko, has successfully carried out an experiment to engineer human cartilage in microgravit ...
AUG 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
AUG 05, 2020
Scientists Discover Record-Breaking Rodent
In a year of extremes, researchers have also unveiled a new record-breaking animal—the highest dwelling mammal on ...
SEP 11, 2020
Health & Medicine
Trans Fat Regulations Protect Three Billion People Worldwide
SEP 11, 2020
Trans Fat Regulations Protect Three Billion People Worldwide
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a progress report on its five-year initiative for the global elimi ...
SEP 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Rise of (Micro)Robots
SEP 11, 2020
The Rise of (Micro)Robots
As reflected by Moore's law, the semiconductor industry has observed a tremendous growth in microelectronics in the ...
OCT 09, 2020
Plants & Animals
Humpback Whales Thriving in NYC Waters
OCT 09, 2020
Humpback Whales Thriving in NYC Waters
Over the past decade, humpback whales have become increasingly common in waters known as the New York-New Jersey Bight. ...
NOV 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Can a Chemical Be Both Nurturing and Destructive?
NOV 12, 2020
Can a Chemical Be Both Nurturing and Destructive?
On August 4, a megascale explosion almost leveled half of Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. At the center of the negl ...
Loading Comments...