ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has detected glowing green oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere – the first time that this emission has been seen around a planet other than Earth. “One of the brightest emissions seen on Earth stems from night glow. More specifically, from oxygen atoms emitting a particular wavelength of light that has never been seen around another planet,” says Jean-Claude Gérard of the Université de Liège, Belgium, and lead author of the new study published in Nature Astronomy. “However, this emission has been predicted to exist at Mars for around 40 years – and, thanks to TGO, we’ve found it.”
The full ESA press briefing can be found here: http://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/ExoMars/ExoMars_spots_unique_green_glow_at_the_Red_Planet
Coverage in French-speaking media:
RTBF (Johanne Montay) : https://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/detail_decouverte-une-lueur-verte-unique-sur-mars?id=10522535
Vivreici.be (Johanne Montay): http://www.vivreici.be/article/detail_decouverte-une-lueur-verte-unique-sur-mars?id=431372
Coverage in Dutch-speaking media:
Uitgebreid interview in De Wereld Vandaag op Radio 1: https://radio1.be/programma/de-wereld-vandaag/radioitem/belgische-onderzoekers-zien-groene-gloed-rond-mars-na-40-jaar-eindelijk-gevonden/21196
Coverage in Spanish-speaking media:
In El Pais, the largest newspaper in Spain (and part of South America): https://elpais.com/ciencia/2020-06-24/descubierto-un-rastro-nunca-visto-del-oxigeno-en-marte.html
Recently TGO passed the milestone of having observed Mars for a full Martian year, which is approximately the same length as two years here on Earth.
In this time:
- LNO has recorded more than 2,000,000 nadir spectra of the surface and atmosphere of Mars
- SO has recorded more than 15,000,000 spectra of the atmosphere of Mars
Today and tomorrow (12-13th September 2019) we are holding our next science working team meeting in Wroclaw, Poland. Here Hakan Svedhem is presenting the latest news from TGO and the upcoming 2020 Mars rover.
In June, NASA’s Curiosity rover reported the highest burst of methane recorded yet, but neither ESA’s Mars Express nor the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter recorded any signs of the illusive gas, despite flying over the same location at a similar time.
New press release from ESA: http://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Exploration/ExoMars/ESA_s_Mars_orbiters_did_not_see_latest_Curiosity_methane_burst
From 22nd August to 14th September NOMAD and all other instruments onboard TGO take a well-earned break! This is due to solar conjunction, when Mars is on the opposite side of the Sun, meaning that communication is impossible between Earth and Mars. For TGO, this is when the angle between the Sun and Mars, as seen from Earth, is less than two degrees.
Here the Earth is represented by the blue circule and Mars is the orange circle. When the angle is too small, communication is impossible between any Mars rover or orbiter and the Earth, and so science operations cease. When communication is re-established, science can begin again.
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