A new discovery has been found on mars! Recently, a team of Indian scientists have discovered their first evidence of solitary waves around Mars. As per an official release by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the solitary waves are mainly distinct electric field fluctuations in the Martian magnetosphere which are responsible for controlling energization, plasma loss and transport through wave-particle interactions.
How was this data found?
Researchers, who found this data from none other than the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), identified and reported the solitary waves using high-resolution electric field data. The data was recorded by the Langmuir Probe and Waves instrument on Nasa’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft which was launched by NASA in November 2013.
What does the data say?
The data, as found by a team of scientists, show that the magnitude of the pulses of solitary magnetic waves is 1-25 millivolts per meter and lasts for 0.2-1.7 milliseconds. The pulses were mostly detected at dawn and between afternoon to dusk at an altitude of 1,000- 3,500 km from the surface of Mars.
Where have these findings been published?
All these findings have been published in The Astrophysical Journal, which mentions the analysis of 450 solitary wave pulses, as recorded by the MAVEN spacecraft which took five rounds around Mars in February 2015.
Why is it important for us?
Again, the study of these waves is important as they directly control particle energization, plasma loss, transport and other processes. There is a suggestion from the study that there is an active process taking place in the planet’s magnetic environment. By detecting this, researchers will get new insights into the behaviour of the Martian magnetosphere and could help in the understanding of such phenomena in other planetary magnetic fields.
Although, the team is still exploring the importance behind these waves in terms of particle dynamics present in the Martian atmosphere.
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About NASA MAVEN spacecraft
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission is part of NASA’s Mars Scout program which was launched in November 2013. The main aim behind this mission is to explore the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and all the interactions which take place between the sun and the solar wind.
As per NASA, scientists, with the help of MAVEN data decontrol the loss of volatiles from the Mars atmosphere to space. It further provides a deep insight into the deep history of the atmosphere, climate, liquid water and planetary habitability of Mars.
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