Curiosity SAM's first measurement of heavy hydrogen abundance on Mars' surface

Curiosity SAM's first measurement of heavy hydrogen abundance on Mars' surface
Curiosity SAM's first measurement of heavy hydrogen abundance on Mars' surface This is the first-ever look at the deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio measured from the surface of Mars, as detected by the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, or SAM, on NASA's Curiosity rover. Deuterium is a heavier version of the hydrogen atom. Scientists look at the deuterium to hydrogen ratios on Mars (or D/H levels) along with isotopes of other elements to study how its atmosphere has changed over time. Mars, which has less gravity than Earth and lacks a strong enough magnetic field to shield its atmosphere from the sun, is slowly losing its atmosphere. As this process occurs, the lighter hydrogen atoms are preferentially lost compared to the heavier deuterium ones. NASA / JPL / GSFC

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