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NASA just detected atomic oxygen in Mars' atmosphere

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

For the first time in 40 years, researchers at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have detected atomic oxygen in Mars' atmosphere. Courtesy - the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), which soars on a plane 13.7 kilometres (45,000 feet) above Earth.

The oxygen atoms were found in the upper atmosphere of Mars - known as the Mesosphere. The discovery of the life supporting gas could find a way for scientists to identify and understand how gases escaped from the Red Planet thousands of years ago.

With Mars already being branded as our new future home, this is exciting news indeed. However, scientists have found only half the amount of oxygen they expected, though this could be due to the variations in atmosphere.

The last time oxygen was detected in Mars' atmosphere was in the 1970s during the Viking and Mariner missions.

First published: 10 May 2016, 1:00 IST