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Ancient Mars volcano blast hints at wet history

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A new look at an ancient volcanic blast on Mars suggests that the Red Planet was much more Earth-like billions of years ago, with abundant surface water and a relatively thick atmosphere, scientists say. The air on Mars was likely at least 20 times denser 3.5 billion years ago than it is today, researchers said. Back then, they added, the Red Planet's atmosphere likely helped sculpt and shape the planet's surface, much like Earth's atmosphere does today. 'Atmospheric pressure has likely played a role in developing almost all Mars' surface features,' said study lead author Josef Dufek, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, in a statement. 'The planet's climate, the physical state of water on its surface and the potential for life are all influenced by atmospheric conditions.'

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