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E. Using Mars to Understand Global Climate Change

Narrator: This is Science Today. When it comes to studying global climate change, one of the most important aspects is to know how the atmosphere has been affected by human activities. To know that, one needs a record of what a human-less atmosphere looks like and how it works. Mark Thiemens, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, says in this respect, Mars makes a nice case study.

Thiemens: You can study a more simple system. No people, no ocean, no life and so understand that part of atmospheric cycles, that when we look at our own perturbed atmosphere, we have another tool kit. And the reverse is true when we study Mars. We know from our studies of atmospheric samples on Earth, we can apply that same knowledge to the Mars case. So, it works both ways.

Narrator: Thiemens and his colleagues have been examining Martian meteorites to gain insight into the evolution of the Martian atmosphere.

Thiemens: The meteorites we get and analyze have come from different times in Martian history, so by looking at those, one has sort of a snapshot of what's happened over time in the Martian atmosphere.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.