Abu Dhabi : The UAE’s Hope probe has discovered a new type of proton aurora on Mars that is scattered on the dayside of the planet. Aurorae are colorful lights that appear on a planet when solar activity disturbs its atmosphere.
Proton aurorae have been observed uniformly by every NASA spacecraft to date, but the most recent finding by Hope indicates that there are patchy aurorae dispersed across Mars’ dayside.
According to sources, this latest data observed ‘patchy’ proton aurora throughout the full disk of the planet on August 2021, and in a small portion of the disk on August 30, 2021.
Input from NASA’s Maven mission, which studied the planet’s plasma environment when the aurora events were occurring, was integrated with the data, assisting in the identification of all areas where the solar wind was falling onto the planet.
These latest findings will help give scientists new insights into the planet’s mysterious atmosphere.
Hessa Al Matroushi, science lead of Emirates Mars Mission, said that the discovery “lifted the lid on entirely new possibilities for scientific research” according to reports.
“Our discovery of these patchy proton aurorae adds a new kind of event to the long list of those currently studied by EMM and challenges our existing views of how the proton aurora on Mars’ dayside is formed,” she said.
Significantly, Protons and electrons from the solar wind collide with atmospheric particles to create the northern and southern lights, often known as the aurora borealis and aurora polaris, respectively.
On Mars, however, there are three different forms of aurorae: proton, diffuse, and discrete because to the planet’s lack of a global magnetic field and localized crustal magnetic fields in the southern hemisphere.