“The red planet gives a green signal”: a unique glow around Mars lights up social media

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By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |

Published: Jun 17, 2020 7:13:48 p.m.





Artist’s impression of ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter detecting the green glow of oxygen in the Martian atmosphere. (Source: ESA TGO / Twitter)
A distinct green glow around the red planet Mars detected by a European spacecraft is the latest phenomenon that sent internet users into a frenzy and also sparked a wave of discussions and memes. Interestingly, this is the first time the phenomenon has been spotted on a world beyond Earth.

Detected by ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, the glow comes from oxygen atoms, which are present in the atmosphere of Mars, while interacting with sunlight.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) observed a similar green glow around Earth from space but found it to be quite weak. However, the researchers explained the difference between the two green hues.

“One of the brightest shows seen on Earth comes from the night glow. More specifically, from oxygen atoms emitting a particular wavelength of light that has never been seen around another planet, “said Jean-Claude Gérard of the University of Liège, Belgium, and lead author of the new study published in Nature Astronomy. “However, this show should have been on Mars for about 40 years – and, thanks to TGO, we found it. ”

Scientists were able to locate the program using a special observation mode for TGO.

As the photo went viral, not just Internet users, even NASA reacted to the unusual sight with a hint of humor. While some said it looked like a shield protecting itself from 2020, others thought it reminded them of the superhero movie “Green Lantern”.

“A good understanding of the atmosphere in this region, and how it varies with latitude, time of day, season and dependence on the solar cycle, is important for planning future missions to the surface of Mars. Obviously, all landers have to pass through this region, and here the friction between the air molecules and the spacecraft body begins to get high and generates a lot of heat. The design must be adapted to the environment, “said Håkan Svedhem, ESA TGO project scientist. Newsweek.

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