How Mars Lost Its Atmosphere

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Today Mars has a thin atmosphere: the volume of gases (mostly carbon dioxide) in its atmosphere is less than 1% of the volume of gases on Earth. However, data obtained from the surface of Mars indicate that the planet was once warmer and wetter. According to the findings, the atmosphere of Mars used to be much thicker; it trapped the Sun rays with its powerful greenhouse effect.

We know that Mars had a strong magnetic field during the formation period four billion years ago, thanks to the numerous expeditions made to the red planet and that this magnetic field is realized by the convection currents of the molten metals in the planet’s core, just like the Earth. However, unlike Earth, Mars’ core has cooled enough to turn off this mechanism and there is no global magnetic field left on the planet. The planet without this magnetic field; could not be protected from the energetic particle stream flowing from the sun, in other words from the solar wind.

Much of Mars’ atmosphere has declined in just a few hundred million years due to solar wind, and the planet has lost its magnetic field. The reason for this process to happen quickly was that the rotation of the Sun was much faster in his youth; this made the solar wind more energetic. The main reason for the transformation of Mars’ hot and wet climate into today’s cold and dry state has been the distribution of a large part of its atmosphere into space. On the contrary, the Earth’s ability to maintain its magnetic field that can deflect the solar wind and protect its atmosphere eventually enabled life to flourish.