NASA’s space agency via the MAVEN ( Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft detected the presence of proton auroras on Mars. Using Ultra Violet Spectrograph Imaging technology (IUVS), MAVEN managed to find natural phenomena that occur on the red planet.
Reported by Digitaltrends, scientists have investigated the relationship between proton auroras and the fact that Mars loses its water over time. Aurora Mars is indirectly created by hydrogen in the atmosphere, which comes from water lost into space.
An image shows how aurora protons are formed. First, solar winds send protons to Mars, where they interact with hydrogen clouds that surround the planet.
Protons take electrons from hydrogen atoms to become neutrons. These neutral particles can then pass through the region of the planet’s magnetosphere called bow shock. When hydrogen atoms enter the atmosphere and collide with gas particles, they emit ultraviolet light called auroras.
Scientists think that this proton aurora is rare. Will be addressed, new research shows that this phenomenon is actually common, especially during the southern summer days.
This is the time where the planet is closest to the sun, which supports the relationship related to water loss. When the sun heats water vapor in the atmosphere, it rises higher and is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen before disappearing into space.
“In this new study using MAVEN / IUVS data from several Mars years, the team has found that the period of increased atmospheric escape corresponds to an increased incidence and intensity of aurora protons,” lead author Andréa Hughes of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, said in a statement.