HOUSTON—Though quite small, curious seasonal variations in concentrations of oxygen (O2) in the thin atmosphere above the floor of the nearly 100-mi.-wide Gale Crater and ancient lake bed on Mars have scientists baffled and striving to provide an explanation. NASA’s Curiosity rover, which touched down in August 2012, has been analyzing the average annual composition of the Martian atmosphere as part of its exploration agenda for nearly six years with a portable chemistry lab ...

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