The NASA Curiosity rover continues to make discoveries that challenge our understanding of the Martian environment. The latest bizarre tax-taxing puzzle is the change in oxygen levels on the planet's surface, as Curiosity's portable chemistry lab, Mars Analysis (SAM), was discovered.
During his journey around the Gail Crater, curiosity found that the Martian atmosphere had a surface composition of 95 vol% carbon dioxide (CO2), 2.6% molecular nitrogen (N2), 1
.9% argon (Ar), 0.16% molecular oxygen (O2) and 0.06% carbon monoxide (CO). Nitrogen and argon levels follow a predictable seasonal pattern that varies with carbon dioxide. However, oxygen levels do not meet expected patterns, increasing by up to 30% in spring and summer.