Emirates News Agency – “Split, winding aurora” is a new and mysterious phenomenon discovered by “Hope Probe” on Mars.

DUBAI, April 28 / WAM / The Emirates Project for Mars Exploration (Hope Probe), the first space mission to explore Mars led by an Arab country, unveiled new and stunning images of the special aurora on Mars, which came after a new series of scientific observations and observations, promising to give new answers, and opened the door to more questions at once, concerning the interactions between solar radiation and the magnetic field of Mars and its atmosphere.

The observations include a mysterious and unique phenomenon never before seen, which the project team called “split aurora, zigzag”, which takes the form of a giant twisted size that stretches over half the length of the Red Planet.

Hessa Al Matrooshi, head of the scientific team for the Emirates Mars Exploration Project, said: “When we first took pictures of the phenomenon of specific auroras for Mars, shortly after the arrival of the Hope probe on the Red Planet in 2021, we we realized that we have new abilities to make extraordinary observations in this field, so we decided to focus more on the study of this phenomenon. We can take almost comprehensive observations of the planet’s disk and atmosphere, which help us to study atmospheric phenomena and the interactions that occur in it., as we see the effects of particular auroras on a large scale from a perspective not seen before. ”

The special, twisting auroras consist of long lines of energetic electron emissions into the upper atmosphere that stretch for thousands of miles from the bright side of Mars to the dark side. These aurora images are among the clearest and most comprehensive images provided by the Hope probe to date, as they were taken while Mars was under the influence of a solar storm, which led to the flow of electrons from the solar wind at a faster speed. faster and more intense. than usual. Images include elongated shapes that can be caused by similarly enlarged areas that provide conditions for electron activation, as in magnetic tail regions.

The solar wind carries the planetary magnetic field that wraps around Mars and combines with the magnetic field from materials in the planet’s crust to form the magnetic tail of Mars, a complex set of magnetic fields on the dark side of the planet.

In this regard, Imran Sharaf, Director of the Emirates Project for the Exploration of Mars “Hope Probe”, said: “The study of the phenomenon of discrete aurora was not part of our master plan, but now, thanks to the additional resources we have, we will be Aimed to study and further explore this phenomenon.We would have been able to observe these transient and changing phenomena and achieve the primary goal of the mission, which is new scientific explorations without high flexibility in planning operations and scientific observations of the probe.

The observations were made using the UAE Mars Exploration Project UV spectrophotometer, which captures images in the wavelength range between 90-180 nanometers. Ultraviolet emission images were captured during new observations at a wavelength of 130.4 nanometers, and they show energetic electrons colliding with atoms and molecules in the upper Martian atmosphere at an altitude of about 130 kilometers above the planet’s surface.

The source of these electrons is the solar wind, which is activated by electric fields in the Martian magnetosphere.

Dr Rob Lillis, a member of the UAE Mars Project Spectrometer UV team from the University of California, Berkeley, said: clear why these were observed auroras. “This size, clarity and shape. “Today we can review and verify previous Mars observations made by the MAVEN and Mars Express missions to find answers that may help explain the new Hope Sonda observations and this mysterious phenomenon.”

Electrons follow the lines of the magnetic field, so their paths to the atmosphere are determined by its magnetic fields. New Hope Probe observations show magnetic field lines that are twisted and do not touch the atmosphere on the dark side of the planet; closed field lines connecting to the crust at both ends of Mars; And the open field lines that connect the planet’s crust to the solar wind, and direct electrons toward the atmosphere in sometimes complex patterns, which then lead to the emission of ultraviolet rays received by the Hope Spectrometer, known as the special aurora because they are limited to specific locations.

In addition to the aurora defined by the Martian crust field, the complex forms of electronic energy effects detected by the Hope probe open up new avenues for understanding how planetary and solar interactions affect the dynamics of the Martian atmosphere.

Around Mars three types of aurora have been observed before. They are diffuse auroras that appear only during strong solar storms, when interactions with higher energy particles illuminate the atmosphere around the entire planet; And the particular auroras that form in specific regions, and the observations made so far seem to confirm the theory that it is directly related to the irregular magnetic fields produced by the magnetized minerals in the planet’s crust. These two types of auroras are observed on the dark side of Mars, while the third type, proton auroras, form on its bright side and are caused by the interactions between the solar wind and hydrogen in the outer atmosphere of Mars.

Although all three aura species were discovered earlier, obtaining clear aura images separated from the coverage provided by the ALMA probe was unattainable. The greater focus of the UAE Mars Exploration Project scientific team on capturing images of particular auroras contributed to the observation of this new zigzag phenomenon. Al Matrooshi said: “We have continued to discover new and unique models of auroras since his first scientific observations through the probe, which allowed us to bring out new ideas and knowledge about the interactions of charged particles in the Martian atmosphere and us provides the scientific team with an excellent opportunity to gather a lot of new information. ”

The UAE Mars Exploration Project UV spectrometer is one of three scientific devices aboard the Hope probe. The main scientific objective of its use is to measure the amounts of oxygen and carbon monoxide in the Martian thermosphere and to change the ratios of hydrogen and oxygen in the outer atmosphere of the planet.

The Hope probe follows the scientifically drawn orbit, with dimensions ranging between 20,000 and 43,000 km, with an inclination towards Mars at an angle of 25 degrees. The probe completes a complete orbit around the planet every 55 hours and captures a complete sample of planetary data every nine days during its two-year mission to design the atmospheric dynamics of Mars.

The Emirates Mars Exploration Project and Sonda Hope are the culmination of knowledge transfer and development efforts that began in 2006 and demonstrated the collaboration of Emirati engineers with partners worldwide to develop the spacecraft design process in the Emirates and to improve the ability of the country. engineering and manufacturing skills. The Hope probe is a fully autonomous vehicle, weighs 1350 kilograms, is the size of a small sports car and carries three scientific instruments to study various aspects of the Martian atmosphere. Engineers from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center designed and developed the night in collaboration with a group of academic partners, including the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Spatial Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Arizona State University; and the University of California, Berkeley.

The Emirates Mars Exploration Project aims to study the Martian atmosphere and the relationships between its lower and upper layers, allowing the world scientific community to have full access to a comprehensive view of the nature of Martian weather during periods of different of the day and throughout its different seasons. Scientific data is published quarterly, with information freely available to space science researchers and enthusiasts worldwide.

The arrival of the probe on the red planet in 2021 coincided with the UAE celebrations for the golden jubilee of their national day.

– Ml –

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