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Mars may be undergoing climate change
Posted: Sat, Dec 8, 2001, 9:30 AM ET (1430 GMT)
Hubble image of Mars The planet Mars may warm significantly in the coming centuries, scientists studying data from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft reported this week. Images of the south polar ice cap of Mars taken by MGS show that pits there have grown considerably in just a few years, evidence that the carbon dioxide ice there is sublimating into gas. Over time, this process could increase the pressure of the atmosphere to one-tenth that of Earth's and warm it as well, perhaps to the point where people may one day be able to walk on the surface with just "an oxygen mask and a heavy coat", according to one researcher. Such climate changes in the past may have also allowed liquid water to exist on the surface. The research was published in the current issue of the journal Science.
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