NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft

The Martian atmosphere has electrically charged metal atoms, claimed the new database collected by NASA’s MAVEN mission.

Martian has always been a source of an enigma for scientists and astronauts. Despite a number of experiments and spacecraft employment, scientists have yet not been fully successful in exploring the complete details about the Red Planet, its origin, atmosphere and other crucial factors. While earlier, a number of Mars-bounded spacecraft have explored new chapters about the fourth planet of our solar system, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft has come up with a new and exciting fact about the Red Planet.

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) which is exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars since November 2013, has stumbled upon electrically charged metal ions in Martian atmosphere.  MAVEN or Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission, while exploring the upper environment of Mars for understanding how the planet lost the major part of its air and transformed from a life-supportive planet into a cold desert planet, has hit upon the presence of electrically charged metal atoms in the Martian atmosphere.

Over the last two years, MAVEN spacecraft has successfully managed to detect various useful climatic ingredients like sodium ions, iron and magnesium in the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet and recently, MAVEN again stumbled upon the electrically charged metal atoms (ions) in the top Martian atmosphere. As expected by the researchers, the new discovery will pave more paths for the disclosure of several mysterious and unseen activities in the upper atmosphere of Mars, known as the ionosphere.

The identified metallic ions spotted rising from a steady rain of miniature meteoroids onto Mars and vaporize when the meteoroid bump into the Martian atmosphere. Following the crash, the metallic atoms converted into electrically charged ions, once the electrons were sidetracked by other charged particles and molecules in the ionosphere of Mars. Researchers also found that the metal atoms to behave in a different manner on Mars in contrast to Earth. On, the magnetic fields and the winds ionosphere compel the metallic ions into the crusts in its interior, while on Mars, the magnetic fields are recognised in some particular parts of its crust and this is causing the metal ion different distributions on Mars than of the Earth.

The findings, published in Geophysical Research Letters on April 10, 2017’s edition has revealed that charged metal ions used to present only in the upper atmosphere of earth. But MAVEN has discovered the permanent visibility of metal atoms in the ionosphere of the Red Planet, which is a remarkable breakthrough about Mars.

The research, led by Joseph Grebowsky of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and colleagues, also claimed that these metallic ions could be used for understanding the activity in the ionosphere of Mars. Moreover, it will also help scientists recognise how the metallic ions encroach on the shaping the actions of high-altitude clouds in Mars. This could also give new insights into the calculation of the upshots of the interplanetary dust in the uncultivated environment of the Solar System.


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