Scientists Uncover Green Glow on Mars

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ExoMars-TGO, the European-Russian mission, is the first one to receive missions of the green glow that is recorded on Mars. The cause of this effect is because of oxygen atoms. Scientists have actually predicted this 40 years ago, but nobody knew how this actually looks on the fourth planet from the Sun. The results of these measurements were published in the academic journal Nature Astronomy.

Above the Earth, the night sky does not become completely, impenetrably black, no matter how dark it is outside. This is because the atmosphere of our own planet always produces a small, faint glow. This effect comes true because of chemical reactions that happens between molecules, as well as during the passage that cosmic rays undergo in the upper layer of the atmosphere.

This was actually discovered by the Swedish researcher Anders Angstrom, in the middle of the XIX century. This was studied thoroughly by all groups of scientists. The effect was actually seen initially around a planet, but not Earth. On Earth, scientists have associated this phenomenon with the well-known and visually impressive aurora borealis.

Over 40 years ago, during the late ‘70s, American planetologists came with the idea that the very same radiance should also come from Mars, but there was no confirmation of this outside of theoretical speculation. The ExoMars-TGO European-Russian mission looked into this in detail in the upper atmosphere of Mars and attempted to discover clues related to these types of oxygen ions that, on our planet, produce a greenish glow.

Jean-Claude Gerard, a professor affiliated with the University of Liege in Belgium, explained that their results upon observing Mars confirmed the theory that the planet emitted a slight glow. In the end, it even turned out that the glow is stronger than the glow our planet has. This means that we still cannot wrap our heads around the behavior of oxygen atoms.