Four billion years ago called, and they want their oxygen-rich atmosphere back, finds new research from Oxford University.
And now, according to a recent study, it had oxygen before it was cool.
In a paper published in the scientific journal Nature – you probably haven't heard of it – scientists at Oxford University say that, some 4 billion years ago, the Red Planet's atmosphere was rich with oxygen, well before the rise of oxygen on Earth, which happened about 2.5 billion years ago.
It all hinges on the differences between rocks that have traveled from Mars to Earth and rocks analyzed by NASA's Spirit Mars rover, a vintage robot that roamed the planet's surface from 2004 to 2010. The surface rocks examined by Spirit show more signs of oxidation than the Martian meteorites.