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Mars atmospheric outbursts due to solar winds

Mars is constantly losing part of its atmosphere to space. A NASA Photo.

LEICESTER (BNS): Leicester physicists have recently identified the impact of Sun on Mars atmosphere.

The scientists have reported that Mars is constantly losing part of its atmosphere to space.

The new scientific research has shown that pressure from solar wind pulses is a significant contributor to Mars's atmospheric escape.

By studying solar wind data and satellite observations from Mars atmosphere, the scientists have found out that Mar's atmospheric escape occurs in bursts.

The bursts of atmospheric loss are related to solar events known as corotating interaction regions (CIRs). CIRs form when regions of fast solar wind encounter slower solar wind, creating a high-pressure pulse. When these CIR pulses pass by Mars, they can drive away particles from Mars's atmosphere, according to a news release by the University of Leicester.

"The main reason it happens at Mars and not at Earth is the lack of a magnetic field produced by the planet, which protects the atmosphere at Earth," said Prof. Mark Lester, Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester.

The data studied by the Leicester physicists are mainly from the ESA mission, Mars Express, although the study also uses data from a NASA mission called ACE.

The scientific research will help scientists better understand the evolution of Mar's atmosphere.


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