On Earth, the solar wind causes the amazing glow around the north and south poles, dancing green lights that make the perfect frame 4K feed . Nevertheless, NASA found that this solar wind, which is responsible for the transformation of Mars with a warm, wet planet’s life in cold, dry desert planet it is today.

This is according to the Mars atmosphere and volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, which from September 2014 holds the most detailed examination is still the Martian upper atmosphere.

“There is a 100g atmosphere coming every second from Mars,” said MAVEN co-investigator Dave Brain at the University of Colorado. “I can not help but imagine a hamburger, flying out every second, but in fact it is carbon dioxide.”

The solar wind is a stream of protons and electrons flowing from the sun at a million miles an h.

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Lost in Space

During the dramatic solar storms that hit the Martian atmosphere on Christmas last year, and in March 2015, Maven managed to record acceleration of the atmosphere to a loss in space. “How to steal a few coins from the cash register every day, the loss becomes significant for a long time,” said Bruce Jakosky, Maven principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “We have seen that the increase in atmospheric erosion significantly during solar storms, so we believe that the rate of loss was much higher than the billions of years ago, when the sun was young and more active.” When a solar storm hits Mars, run rates are rising by a factor of 10-20.

“Earth has a strong magnetic shield, but Mars does,” Jasper said Halekas, Maven solar wind ion analyzer tool lead, from the University of Iowa. “His upper atmosphere is completely exposed, so the solar wind strips away large portions of space.” The solar wind affects the planet’s full-much like a shock wave in front of a supersonic aircraft.

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Do glow of Mars?

Although Mars lacks an effective magnetic field like the Earth, the planet has a bunch of small magnetic fields. Cue a fabulous Aurora on Mars that NASA has found before, although MAVEN found something hitherto unnoticed – and very strange.

“A new kind of glow was observed on Maven Aurora above the area without any magnetic field at all, which was strange for us,” said Brain. “We have seen this in the form of ultra-violet light, discovered tools Maven”, he said, adding that if you were on the night side of Mars, it could be seen with the naked eye. “You can see the night sky Light-Up – it would be great!”

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Maven What to do?

MAVEN was elliptical orbit of Mars in September 2014, reaching as close as 93 miles above the red planet in the distant 3900 miles. Never before has a spacecraft to Mars was so devoted to the study and understanding of the Martian upper atmosphere. Cube eight feet, Maven has wings, which extend 37ft, which is completely covered with solar panels, but it’s three instrument packages within Maven, which are decisive. Particles and fields a package of measures the solar wind and the ionosphere of Mars, while remote sensing package looks at the global characteristics of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere.

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Water on Mars?

The conclusions follow the announcement that in September, geologists discovered a long, dark streaks on Mars, evidence that salt water still flows on Mars.

With the news that NASA measured the effect of the solar wind, scientists are beginning to put together exactly what happened in the atmosphere of Mars, and whether it was once a stable free-flowing water and possibly life.

What is the atmosphere of Mars, how?

As well as the 95% carbon dioxide atmosphere of Mars is about 100 times thinner than Earth’s. He was once dense enough for the water to flow on the surface?

Scientists know Mars is cold – NASA’s Spirit Rover recorded temperatures as low as -130ºF / -90ºC in winter and found an average of -67ºF / -55ºC – but until recently there was no evidence of water sporadic. NASA’s Phoenix Lander in 2008 found the ice caps and snow in the high arctic region of the planet, but it was mostly frozen carbon dioxide.

However, not only found curiosity dry river pebbles and offering tap water, but it has shown that the water molecules constitute a large percentage of two soil samples in her home, Gale Crater. It is not chemically pure, but when the soil has warmed up to 835º, water vapor is released. This is good news for future astronauts to Mars.

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Will this affect NASA’s “man on Mars’ mission?

” Speed ​​release today is not a large number, “said Jakosky of leeches atmosphere Mars. “It’s enough to remove the atmosphere in a few billion years.”

This is a long time for NASA, who recently committed to the journey to the Red Planet in your path to the program Mars. The space agency wants to put a man on Mars 2030’s, but not before a deeper space of experience, at first capture of an asteroid in the 2020s, and secondly, allowing the astronauts to study it, as well as low-Earth orbit. Mission Mars also depends on the successful testing of a new capsule NASA Orion rocket and Space Launch System, and the development of solar Electric Propulsion, to send cargo to Mars in advance. “The exploration of Mars will be the legacy of this generation, and the Mars rover 2020 will be another important step on the way to the Red Planet,” says NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

The next year will see the launch of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars tracer gas Orbiter, which will search for signs of methane, as evidenced by the findings would add to the Maven about how the solar wind has destroyed the atmosphere of Mars. “To quote Bob Dylan,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, “the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.”