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Monday, May 30, 2016

Atomic Oxygen found on Mars

After the discovery of traces of water on the surface of Mars in September 2015, now scientists again found the signs that relate to the red planet's ability to support life. As reported by CNN on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, the US space agency (NASA) announced that has been discovered the atoms of oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars.

Mars, the Red Planet. (Picture from:  
http://www.wired.com/)
The atoms are found in the mesosphere of Mars, the outer layers of the Martian atmosphere. Scientists believe these findings will provide a better understanding to be the planet's atmosphere. Oxygen in the atmosphere, for example, could help scientists learn how atmospheric erosion and other gases escaped from Mars.

The atoms of oxygen on Mars discovered by scientists using a Boeing 747SP modified airplane for research purposes and can carry a 100-inch diameter telescope. The aircraft is part of a project called Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) developed by with NASA and the Germany Aerospace Center (Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt/DLR).

SOFIA jet can fly at an altitude of between 37,000 to 45,000 feet, just above the layer of Earth's atmosphere that serves as an infrared rays shield. With that, the SOFIA can detect and examine infrared emanations from space.

Scientists previously very difficult to detect the oxygen atom of Mars, because they are not able to accurately measure the wavelength emitted by the atoms. The last attempt at seeking atomic oxygen made 40 years ago.

The emission wavelength was captured by SOFIA then analyzed by a device on Earth called the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz frequencies (GReAT), which served to distinguish the oxygen in Earth's atmosphere with the coming of the Martian atmosphere. The findings are published scientists in an article in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | CNN]
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