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April 9 2013

Curiosity rover traces loss of Martian air

The degree to which Mars' atmosphere has thinned over time is evident in exquisite new measurements from Nasa's Curiosity rover.

It has analysed the different types, or isotopes, of argon atoms in the planet's air.

The study shows how a heavier version of the element has built up relative to a lighter one during Mars' history.

It is confirmation that a substantial portion of the planet's original atmosphere has escaped into space.

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