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New results from NASA'S MAVEN orbiter (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) have been released today. Its findings show that Mars lost its atmosphere not long after the first life took hold on earth, about 3.7 billion years ago.

Mars Lost Atmosphere to Space as Life Took Hold on Earth

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The window for life to take root across broad stretches of the Martian surface may have closed shortly after the first microbes evolved on Earth.

New results from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft suggest that the Red Planet lost most of its carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere — which had kept Mars relatively warm and allowed the planet to support liquid surface water — to space about 3.7 billion years ago.

"We think that all of the action took place between about 4.2 to 3.7 billion years ago," MAVEN principal investigator Bruce Jakosky, of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Space.com. [Mars Atmosphere Being Stripped By Solar Wind (Video)]

But this finding doesn't rule out ancient Mars as an abode for life, he stressed. After all, scientists know that Earth supported life by 3.8 billion years ago, and a recent study suggests that microbes may even have existed on Earth as early as 4.1 billion years ago.

"Mars appears to have had a more clement environment for just as long as it took life to form on Earth," Jakosky said. "That doesn't tell us that life did form on Mars, but it says it's very plausible. It's at least not a stupid idea to ask whether it did."

Carol

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 636 carolb 05-Nov-15 19:31
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 274 Aine 06-Nov-15 14:40
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 196 carolb 06-Nov-15 14:46
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 258 Laird Scranton 06-Nov-15 16:38
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 213 carolb 06-Nov-15 17:22
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 182 Aine 06-Nov-15 19:08
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 215 randompHactor 06-Nov-15 19:22
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 282 asertus 06-Nov-15 17:55
Re: Mars atmosphere lost to space as life took hold on earth - MAVEN 360 laughin 07-Nov-15 15:03


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