Nasa’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has found the speed of solar winds might have stripped the Martian climate from its previous warm and wet environment to the current cold and arid atmosphere.

Findings of the mission were published in the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

With the help of Maven data, researchers also found the Martian atmosphere is currently losing gas at a rate of 100g every second to space.

The red planet’s atmospheric erosion highly increases during solar storms.

Nasa Washington science mission directorate associate administrator John Grunsfeld said: "Mars appears to have had a thick atmosphere warm enough to support liquid water, which is a key ingredient and medium for life as we currently know it.

"Understanding what happened to the Mars atmosphere will inform our knowledge of the dynamics and evolution of any planetary atmosphere.

"Understanding what happened to the Mars atmosphere will inform our knowledge of the dynamics and evolution of any planetary atmosphere."

"Learning what can cause changes to a planet’s environment from one that could host microbes at the surface to one that doesn’t is important to know, and is a key question that is being addressed in NASA’s journey to Mars."

The solar wind is a stream of particles consisting of mainly protons and electrons, flowing from the sun’s atmosphere at a speed of one million miles per hour.

The wind carries a magnetic field and when flowing past Mars, it generates an electric field, which accelerates electrically charged gas atoms called ions, in Mars’ upper atmosphere and shoots them into space.

Maven found that Mars’ atmospheric loss was accelerated during a series of dramatic solar storms last March.

Nasa MAVEN Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland project scientist Joe Grebowsky said: "Solar wind erosion is an important mechanism for atmospheric loss, and was important enough to account for significant change in the Martian climate.

"MAVEN also is studying other loss processes such as loss due to impact of ions or escape of hydrogen atoms, and these will only increase the importance of atmospheric escape."

Nasa launched the MAVEN mission to Mars in 2013. Its goal was to determine how much of the planet’s atmosphere and water have been lost to space.

Nasa researchers recently observed the seasonal appearance of hydrated salt water on Mars.

Image: Solar wind stripping Mars of gas: Nasa probe. Photo: courtesy of NASA.