In a major breakthrough researchers of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have detected atomic oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere.
These oxygen atoms were found by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
SOFIA is not a stationary observatory and soars on a plane at the height of 13.7 kilometres that 45,000 feet above Earth.
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Getty
This is for the first time in 40 years that researchers have found these atoms and their discovery can now help them identify and understand how these gases escaped from the Red Planet thousands of years ago. These oxygen atoms were found in the upper atmosphere of Mars which is known as the Mesosphere, and brought in exciting news for the scientists as Mars is already being branded as the future home for humans.
Though the discovery also brought in a bit of disappointment for the scientists as they found only half the amount of oxygen that they were expecting.
Though it could be due to the variations in the atmosphere, the scientists at present are keeping their fingers crossed.
Last time scientists found oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere was nearly 40 years ago, during the 1970s Viking and Mariner missions.