Getting closer to the cause of the dissipation of the Martian atmosphere
Mars probeMuffinIt was launched in November 2013 and entered orbit around Mars in September 2014.
The purpose of the mission is to study interactions with the Martian atmosphere, ionosphere, and solar wind.Atmospheric dissipationTo understand the phenomenon of the loss of the planet’s atmosphere in outer spaceHe is.
Mars now looks like a dry mass of rock, but we know that until about 3.4 billion years ago it was a “blue water planet” with vast oceans, lakes, and many winding rivers. more.
At that time it was warm and dense, which made it possible to keep water on the surface.
Mars today has an atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, but it is much thinner than it was then, so it cannot retain heat and water on the surface.
So Mars today is almost a wasteland.
The first photo was taken in July 2022
So the research team is now aboard MAVEN to better understand the dissipation of the Martian atmosphere.Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrometer (IUVS)Filmed by
By measuring wavelengths of ultraviolet light invisible to the human eye, the IUVS will be able to image Mars in a new way.
The UV data collected was rendered (in false color) to make it visible to the human eye, and an overall picture of Mars was created.
With this color coding, you can tell where the atmosphere and clouds are and how dry the regions are.
And in July 2022, here is the first image taken during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
Like Earth, Mars rotates on an axis tilted about 25 degrees, so it has four distinct seasons.
Mars orbits closest to the sun when the southern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun, and farthest from the sun when the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun.
As a result, summers in the Southern Hemisphere are much warmer than summers in the Northern Hemisphere.
The large crater seen slightly to the left of the image center is the Argir Basin, one of the deepest craters on Mars.
The pure white visible below shows the “Antarctic Ice Sheet,” which is evaporating and shrinking due to the summer heat.
Then the white mist that spreads around Mars,Fog of water vapor blows at high altitudes due to turbulence caused by high summer temperaturesHe is.
Water vapor rising to a high altitude is decomposed by sunlight, and light hydrogen escapes into outer space.
From this observation, MAVEN reports that it found increased hydrogen loss from Mars in the summer.
The researchers also explain that the Antarctic ice sheet evaporates, releasing carbon dioxide and thickening the atmosphere.
The blue part in the middle is the haze in the atmosphere.
The second photo was taken in January 2023
The second image was taken in January 2023, during the winter months when Mars is in its furthest orbit from the sun.
Mars’ north pole is centered here,The dark purple region is the atmospheric ozone accumulated in the Arctic.Represent.
After that, the ozone is destroyed by a chemical reaction with the water vapor generated in the spring and disappears.
The surrounding white area shows the same atmospheric haze, and the green area from the center to the bottom is a dry area with many small craters.
The two images obtained this time are:It will also help us understand the history of Martian atmosphere dynamics and climate change, thus providing insight into future habitability.is expected.
At this time, the exact reason why Mars escaped from the atmosphere is unknown.
One possibility, the researchers say, is that as the Martian core cools and the magnetic field weakens, the shield that was holding the atmosphere would break, causing the atmosphere to escape into space.
Humans considering establishing a colony on Mars will need to do some homework about the past, present, and future of the Martian environment.
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