Hope: The mission of the United Arab Emirates (EMM), which has orbited the planet Mars since February, through the spacecraft Hope, sent to Earth several detailed images of what has been called the “northern lights” of the red planet. Similar to terrestrial phenomena, they are ultraviolet emissions that appear on the spectrometer as solar winds emanate from the planet’s magnetic fields.
Although it cannot be technically classified as “boreal”, because, unlike what happens on Earth, it is not limited to the north, the optical phenomenon is caused by the collision of magnetically charged particles with oxygen existing in the upper Martian atmosphere.
According to the head of science at EMM, Hessa Al Matroushi, the images are “just a gift”, as they are not among the main objectives of the mission. Speaking to the British magazine Nature, which released the photos earlier this month, the scientist confirmed that the aim of the Arab mission is to explore the atmosphere of Mars.
About Emirate Mars Mission (EMM)
Hope arrived in Martian orbit on February 9th, and officially began its scientific explorations on May 23rd. The 1.35 ton probe’s objectives and a cost of US$ 200 million (R$ 1 billion) are aimed at the red planet’s atmosphere, studying its daily and seasonal changes.
These emissions captured by Hope had previously been detected by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft. But the aurora captures of protons do not even compare with the “spectacular images” obtained by the Arab probe, according to a statement by the head of the American mission, Nick Schneider, to Nature.
For the scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, the images “capture the fact that Mars lost its global field, the supposed cause of the disappearance of its thick former atmosphere.” However, the UAE has plans for a future colony on the planet by 2117.