Science NASA's MAVEN: First results from mission to Mars dazzle scientists (+video)

The first MAVEN images are much clearer than expected, giving scientists their first look at the structure of Mars' extended upper atmosphere and clues to its history.

By , Staff writer

University of Colorado/NASA

NASA's newest Mars orbiter, MAVEN, has returned its first observations of the red planet's upper atmosphere, laying a promising foundation for answering a nagging question about the planet's environment: What happened to an atmosphere that supported a warm and wet planet some 4 billion years ago, only to become the dry, chilled desert that astronomers see today?