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Seasonal Ozone Layer Over Mars' South Pole

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A Seasonal Ozone Layer Over the Martian South Pole

29 September 2013

For the past decade, ESA's Mars Express orbiter has been observing atmospheric structure on the Red Planet. Among its discoveries is the presence of three separate ozone layers, each with its own characteristics. A new comparison of spacecraft data with computer models explains how global atmospheric circulation creates a layer of ozone above the planet's southern winter pole.

Ozone (O3) is a form of oxygen gas which contains three atoms, rather than two. On Earth, ozone is a pollutant at ground level, but at higher altitudes it provides an essential protective layer against harmful solar ultraviolet (UV) light.

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