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Solar wind stripping atmosphere from Mars, illustration

Solar wind stripping atmosphere from Mars, illustration

C037/1127

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Credit

RAMON ANDRADE 3DCIENCIA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RAMON ANDRADE 3DCIENCIA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Solar wind stripping atmosphere from Mars. Illustration of the Martian atmosphere being removed by the action of the solar wind. The solar wind is a stream of particles, mainly protons and electrons, flowing from the Sun. The magnetic field carried by the solar wind as it flows past Mars generates an electric field which accelerates ions in Mars' upper atmosphere and shoots them into space. The loss of atmospheric gases increases during solar storms, and over time has contributed to the change in the Martian climate from warm and moist to cold and arid.

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