a Mars The orbiter, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), has sniffed two never before seen chemical signals in the red planet’s atmosphere. This discovery may unravel a long-lasting Martin Methane mystery.
Both detections come from ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter, which was launched in 2016 as part of the first installment Exomars, A two-launch European-Russian partnership for the Red Planet. What is particularly strange about detention, scientists say, is that along the lines where scientists will seek methane, a key component in Search for life on mars. It is not possible that the alignment means that these compounds may interfere with the efforts of scientists looking for methane.
“These features are surprising and surprising,” said Kevin Olsen, a planetary scientist and project researcher at the University of Oxford. Said in an ESA statement. “They live at the exact wavelength range where we expected to see the strongest signs of methane.”
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Scientists are fascinated by this Methane on Mars (or its absence) Because, at least on Earth, while geological processes produce little of the gas, most of it comes from living things. This relationship makes methane a potential biosignature, a marker that life may possess. The gas is also relatively short-lived, meaning that if methane is seen on Mars, it would have formed within the last few hundred years.
Researchers have identified methane at different times on the Red Planet based on data Collected by NASA’s Curiosity Rover And by ESA’s Mars Express Parikrama. But those restrictions are unclear and complicated, often involving explicit mismatches between data collected on the ground and comments from the classroom.
This new detection of other gases, strangely aligned, where scientists usually look for methane, can help explain why the question of methane in Mars’ atmosphere is so difficult, scientists behind the new research he said.
Carbon dioxide and ozone, regrettably, are both more common on the red planet than methane, and scientists have seen both compounds very frequently – carbon dioxide dominates the planet’s thin atmosphere. But the trace gas orbiter was able to measure them more accurately, thanks to an instrument called the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite that “tastes” the various components. Prosperous.
Although these compounds have previously been “smelled” on Mars, these new observations are still intriguing, scientists said. For example, strange carbon dioxide signals, researchers suspect, may indicate a previously unknown interaction between gas and other compounds in the atmosphere, or between gas and sunlight.
And, while researchers usually study Martian ozone The new detection was based on observations with infrared light, using ultraviolet measurements. And, since ultraviolet measurements only work for ozone at high altitudes, using infrared devices may allow scientists to develop a better understanding of how low ozone is behaving in the atmosphere close to the surface of Mars.
“Ozone and [carbon dioxide] Mars’ atmospheres are important, “Alexander Trokhimovsky, an engineer at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and a project researcher, said in the same statement.” By not keeping an account of these gases properly, we run. There is a risk of misuse of the events or qualities we are seeing. “
Trace gas orbiter, with Mars Rover Schiaparelli failed, The 2016 launch of the ExoMars program, a partnership between ESA and Russia. The second launch in the program, including a rover dubbed Rosalind Franklin, was set to explode this summer Delayed 2022 This spring due to parachute problems and complications from the coronovirus epidemic.
The mission will carry instruments similar to the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite on trace gas orbiters, allowing scientists to compare orbital data with measurements from the surface.
Research is described in two The papers Published in the July issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics
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