NASA’s Curiosity rover’s has added a new mystery for scientists studying Mars, with samples from the rover showing a seasonal change around Oxygen levels near the surface of the Gale Crater on the red planet.
According to the new study, results of which were published in a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, Oxygen behaves in a mysterious way on Mars. NASA found that Oxygen levels throughout spring and summer rose by as much as 30 per cent, according to the study.
NASA in its press statement notes that this pattern repeated each spring, though the amount of oxygen added to the atmosphere varied. According to their conclusions, some specific conditions or processes on Mars were likely producing Oxygen and then taking it away.
According to data from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) portable chemistry lab, which is inside the belly of the Curiosity rover, 95 per cent of the Martian atmosphere is carbon dioxide by volume. The rest of the gases are: 2.6 per cent molecular nitrogen, 1.9 per cent argon (Ar), 0.16 per cent molecular oxygen (O2), and 0.06 per cent carbon monoxide (CO). Oxygen, which is needed to breathe by most beings on Earth is barely present on Mars.