7 Oct 2010

Mars mission by NASA

6:10 am on 7 October 2010

NASA is to investigate how Mars lost its atmosphere. The US space agency says the mission may also show a history of life being supported there.

Three main scientific instruments will be launched aboard a craft in November 2013 as part of a $US438 million project.

NASA says clues on Mars' surface, including features that resemble ancient riverbeds and minerals that could only form in the presence of liquid water, suggest the planet once had a denser atmosphere that supported water.