Imagine Earth with No Atmosphere
Before Mariner 5 flew by Mars is 1965, humans thought that the red planet was a welcoming world with water and vegetation; maybe even more advanced life forms. Mars may once have been hospitable, but it isn’t today. What happened?
Why It Matters
- Early in the history of the solar system, Mars had liquid water that moved across the planet.
- Currently Mars has a thin atmosphere; it is cold and has no obvious life.
- If there is life on Mars, it is microbial and it lives under the soil.
Can You Apply It?
With the link below, learn more about Mars. Then answer the following questions.
- ScienceAtNASA, ScienceCasts: What Happened to Mars? A Planetary Mystery (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etL2ZhqGNCs
- Why was Mars warm enough to have liquid water early in the history of the solar system?
- Why do scientists think Mars had a significant atmosphere 4 billion years ago?
- Which gases would have had to have been in the atmosphere and why?
- How did Mars lose its atmosphere and when?
- What is the evidence for the previous answer?
- How will the spacecraft MAVEN determine how much carbon dioxide was lost to space in the past 4 billion years?