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What Happened to Mars?

What Happened to Mars?

Billions of years ago, Mars was a very different world. Liquid water flowed in long rivers that emptied into lakes and shallow seas. A thick atmosphere blanketed the planet and kept it warm.

Today, Mars is bitter cold. The Red Planet’s thin and wispy atmosphereprovides scant cover for the surface below.

Our MAVEN Mission

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is part of our Mars Scout program. This spacecraft launched in November 2013, and is exploring the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind.

The purpose of the MAVEN mission is to determine the state of the upper atmosphere of Mars, the processes that control it and the overall atmospheric loss that is currently occurring. Specifically, MAVEN is exploring the processes through which the top of the Martian atmosphere can be lost to space. Scientists think that this loss could be important in explaining the changes in the climate of Mars that have occurred over the last four billion years.

New Findings

Today, Nov. 7, we will share new details of key science findings from our ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 2 p.m. EDT. This event will be broadcast live on NASA Television. Have questions? Use #askNASAduring the briefing.


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