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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First Observations of Mars' Extended Upper Atmosphere

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft has obtained its first observations of the extended upper atmosphere surrounding Mars.

The Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS) instrument obtained these false-color images eight hours after the successful completion of Mars orbit insertion by the spacecraft at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, after a 10-month journey.



The image shows the planet from an altitude of 36,500 km in three ultraviolet wavelength bands. Blue shows the ultraviolet light from the sun scattered from atomic hydrogen gas in an extended cloud that goes to thousands of kilometers above the planet’s surface. Green shows a different wavelength of ultraviolet light that is primarily sunlight reflected off of atomic oxygen, showing the smaller oxygen cloud. Red shows ultraviolet sunlight reflected from the planet’s surface; the bright spot in the lower right is light reflected either from polar ice or clouds.

The oxygen gas is held close to the planet by Mars’ gravity, while lighter hydrogen gas is present to higher altitudes and extends past the edges of the image. These gases derive from the breakdown of water and carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere. Over the course of its one-Earth-year primary science mission, MAVEN observations like these will be used to determine the loss rate of hydrogen and oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. These observations will allow us to determine the amount of water that has escaped from the planet over time.


MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.

5 comments:

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  2. ...interstellar travel (aliens in Moon?)...are there aliens in Moon´s occult face?, perhaps they could be go to/come from faraway in straight line beyond occult face, for not to be detected from Earth... It´s something strange that NASA cancelled the 2 last Apollo missions when they were in all prepared for launch to Moon... Why astronauts when came back from Moon they were so silent?. Why NASA has not gone again to Moon from ½ century ago?...economic reasons?..."lack of interest"?...or, the Evil Empire: religion, armies, monarchies and politicians...are the causers too, besides of wars, besides control of all global media (thousands million of "believers": bribed, or innocents, or ignorant...when aliens will come to Earth: goodbye religion and all its lies...for that reason there are religious piteous, intimidating to ignorant, TV programs and movies presenting supposed aliens "grey", "reptilian", etc, as our "enemies", if religious would not so damaging; be careful, religious go saying in "their" global media that "3th World War has already begun"...because Humankind escapes from them and go to Future; they would give a pity)...

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