According to calculations from MAVEN mission scientists, a quarter pound of the remaining Martian Atmosphere (which is made up of oxygen and carbon dioxide) escapes per second.
According to scientists, the slow destruction of our neighbor’s planet atmosphere was caused by “huge rope-like tendrils of magnetic rotations. The red planet’s once hospitable atmosphere was blown away in the distant past. But how did this happen? Well the atmosphere was blown away because Mars’ magnetic field shut down. NASA scientists say that even though the red planet had a magnetic field, around 4.2 billion years ago it shut down.
The process of Mars losing its precious atmosphere most likely occurred over a period of several hundred million years. Scientists speculate that during this time, the red planet was hit by “extreme ultra violet photons” from the sun. Before this happened, water was most likely abundant on the red planet and it is very likely that life as we know it could have developed on Mars.
According to scientists the solar wind usually travels at one million miles per hour. The upper atmosphere of the red planet was more exposed to solar winds. Researchers believe that the solar storms were much more frequent in the distant past meaning that the atmosphere of the red planet was stripped away at a much faster rate than today.
This means that when Mars was much younger, it was much warmer and wetter, meaning that it was a very good candidate for life to develop. Scientists believe that Mars’ oceans evaporated due to the planet’s thinning atmosphere which caused it to leak into space.
Since then, the planet has dried out becoming much colder and nearly inhospitable. For all of those who wonder if this process could be reversed, scientist say that regrettably, the process cannot be reversed.
Could the same thing happen to our planet?
According to NASA scientists Earth’s magnetic field is protecting our planet’s atmosphere, but, NASA says that Earth’s magnetic field could shut down sometime in the future which could facilitate the deterioration of our planet’s atmosphere by the solar wind.
Looking back at three of the most important discovers on Mars, we can say that the red planet did in fact have an atmosphere in the distant past when the planet was much younger, during this time, scientists believe that water was very abundant on the red planet and today, experts know for a fact that there is methane on Mars. The three points: Methane, liquid water and an atmosphere means that Mars was a perfect that could have developed life on its surface.