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Deepak Dogra
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Solar activity doubles radiation levels on Mars

  • Solar activity doubles radiation levels on Mars

A solar event has sparked a global aurora at the Martian surface and caused the radiation level to double than highest ever recorded, NASA scientists have found.

 

According to Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) Mission -- a space probe developed by NASA designed to study the Martian atmosphere while orbiting Mars -- a solar event on September 11 triggered the global aurora at Mars more than 25 times brighter than any previously seen by the MAVEN orbiter.

The orbiter, which has been studying the Martian atmosphere's interaction with the solar wind since 2014, also recorded radiation levels on the surface more than double any previously measured by the Curiosity rover's Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, since that mission's landing in 2012.

 

The high readings lasted more than two days, NASA found.

"The current solar cycle has been an odd one, with less activity than usual during the peak, and now we have this large event as we're approaching solar minimum," said Sonal Jain of the University of Colorado Boulder, who is a member of MAVEN's Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument team.

 

This event was big enough to be detected at Earth too, even though Earth was on the opposite side of the Sun from Mars. 


: October 1, 2017 2:27 pm
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