Weird Green Glow In Mars’ Atmosphere Spotted By ESA Orbiter

Rodiano Bonacci
Июня 16, 2020

The European Space Agency's orbiter has been circling Mars for almost four years and has recently made an astonishing discovery - glowing green oxygen in the atmosphere.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter orbited Mars around October 2016.

A green band of oxygen glow is visible over Earth's curve. Through an official statement, experts have reported that this is the first time that this emission has been detected on a planet outside Earth.

"The observations at Mars agree with previous theoretical models, but not with the actual glowing we've spotted around Earth, where the visible emission is far weaker", Gerard stated. Experts stated that some 40 years ago, the existence of these phenomena on Mars had been theorized, but now thanks to TGO, their existence could be detected in situ.

An orbiting spacecraft has detected a unusual green glow on Mars that had previously only been seen on one planet - Earth.

Cco-author Ann Carine Vandaele of the Institut Royal d'Aéronomie Spatiale de Belgique, Belgium, said: "Previous observations hadn't captured any kind of green glow at Mars, so we made a decision to reorient the UVIS nadir channel to point at the 'edge" of Mars, similar to the perspective you see in images of Earth taken from the ISS'.

A study conducted by the astronomer Jean-Claude Gérard of the Université de Liège in Belgium, confirms that the green glow we see on Earth is present on Mars as well. The green glow was seen in all the datasets observed by the researchers.

"The emission was strongest at an altitude of around 80 kilometres and varied depending on the changing distance between Mars and the Sun". This is different from the type of aurora we know as the Northern Lights. What's triggering the glow is that carbon dioxide gets separated from carbon monoxide and oxygen when solar radiation hits the atmosphere of Mars. They will want to know this so they can have a clean landing on the Red Planet, and not encounter atmosphere thickness that could jeopardize the mission.

The spacecraft on which the Schiaparelli travelled to Mars, Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), carries a probe to study trace gases such as methane around the planet.

Methane is a chemical that on Earth is strongly associated with life on Earth.

NASA may have a long-term goal of sending a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s, but for its missions on the Red Planet now, it's OK to stop and admire the night sky once in a while. It will be required to travel more than 15km across the surface, finding and collecting up to 36 of the 43 sample tubes left by the Perseverance rover.

Scientists had been waiting to see the phenomenon for plenty of years, but only now, the Red Planet is revealing it to us.

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