Twitter Abuzz after spacecraft captures “a unique green glow” around Mars


Artist’s impression of the green glow detected around Mars (ESA)

Mars may be known as the red planet, but a European spacecraft has now detected a green glow around it. According to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has found oxygen that causes a green glow in the planet’s atmosphere. The discovery created a huge buzz on social media, with Internet users offering a number of memes and jokes about the green glow.

According to the New York Post, Mars has oxygen in its atmosphere that triggers glow by interacting with sunlight. Oxygen atoms are “charged” by sunlight. When they “relax”, they glow a pale green hue.

This is the first time that such a glow has been observed on a planet other than Earth – where it appears as aurorae on the poles.

“One of the brightest shows seen on Earth comes from the night glow. Specifically, oxygen atoms emitting a particular wavelength of light that has never been seen around another planet, “said Jean-Claude Gerard, of the University of Liège, Belgium, and author principal of the study published in Nature Astronomy.

“However, this show should have been on Mars for about 40 years – and, thanks to TGO, we found it,” he said in a statement shared by the European Space Agency (ESA), entitled “ExoMars unique spots ”. green glow to the red planet.

Mr. Gerard added that the green glow of Mars is different from that of Earth. “Observations on Mars are in agreement with previous theoretical models, but not with the actual radiation that we have spotted around Earth, where the visible emission is much lower,” he added.

ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter Twitter account shared an impression of a glow artist. Take a look below:

The detection of the green glow around Mars caused a number of reactions on the microblogging platform.

Some joked that it looked like Mars had added Earth to its list of “close friends” – a reference to the green ring that appears around Instagram stories shared only with close friends.

Some have wondered if Mars wanted to distance itself socially from humans.

“Nature heals,” wrote a Twitter user, referring to the parody publications that have flooded Twitter since the coronavirus-induced blockages around the world began to reduce pollution levels.

Detecting the green glow will help scientists better understand the atmosphere of Mars.

“By looking at the altitudes of this program, you can actually tell how thick the atmosphere is and how it varies,” said the New York Post, Dr. Manish Patel, co-author of the study. “So if you were to continue to observe this phenomenon, you could see the height of the atmosphere change, which it does for example when it warms up during dust storms. This is a problem we face when we try to land on Mars because we never know exactly how thick the atmosphere will be when we plow to reach the surface. ”

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