Scientists have long suspected the solar wind of stripping the Martian atmosphere into space, a process that may have turned Mars from a blue world early in its history into the red planet that we see today. In 2014, NASA’s MAVEN orbiter arrived at Mars and began studying its upper atmosphere.
Now, MAVEN has returned the first-ever measurements of solar wind erosion at Mars, observing ions in the upper atmosphere as they pick up energy from the electric field of the solar wind and escape to space.
(Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
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NASA’s MAVEN Mission to Mars