MAVEN gives first look at Mars’ escaping atmosphere | Science News

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MAVEN gives first look at Mars’ escaping atmosphere

MAVEN at Mars

In this artist's illustration, MAVEN orbits Mars looking for clues to how the planet lost its once Earth-like atmosphere.

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Bits of Mars have been caught in the act of floating off into space. The first images from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft show hydrogen, carbon and oxygen atoms escaping from the planet.

MAVEN, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, arrived at the Red Planet on September 21 and is designed to look at how the solar wind and other interactions strip particles out of the planet's atmosphere. That data could help scientists figure out how Mars transformed from a once warm, wet planet into the relatively cold, frozen world it is today. 

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