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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 17:24 EDT
Mars may have lost much of its atmosphere during asteroid
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Mars may have lost much of its atmosphere during asteroid impacts early in its history.

January 18, 2005
The Beagle 2 lander will look for signatures of life on Mars, whether long-dead or still-living, by measuring the ratio of two different types of carbon in the rocks. Biological processes on Earth favour the lighter isotope of carbon, carbon-12, over the heavier carbon-13. Hence, a high carbon-12 to carbon-13 ratio is taken as evidence of life and has been found in rocks up to 4 billion years old, even where geological processing has occurred. The hope is that the same occurred on Mars.