What's New :
UPSC CSE Result 2023.Download toppers list

UAE, NASA missions find 'patchy' auroras in Mars atmosphere

  • Published
    2nd Sep, 2022

The United Arab Emirate's Mars Mission (EMM) and NASA's MAVEN probe have found "patchy" proton auroras in Mars' skies, providing new insights into the red planet's atmosphere.


About new findings:

  • The new aurora found by the team is formed when the solar wind directly impacts Mars' upper atmosphere and emits ultraviolet light as it slows down.
  • It was discovered in snapshots of the dayside disk obtained by the Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), which observes the planet's upper atmosphere.
  • The new images represent the first time scientists had a global view of spatial variability in proton aurora at Mars, and the first time they been able to unambiguously observe this patchy structure.
  • These wavelengths are only emitted by the hydrogen atom, which tells us that super energetic hydrogen atoms must be present in the atmosphere in order to produce the auroral emission.


  • An aurora is a natural light display in a planet's sky, predominantly seen in high-latitude regions such as the northern lights, or the aurora borealis, seen from the Earth.
  • When the aurora occurs, small regions of the planet become much brighter, signifying intense localised energy in the atmosphere.
  • There are two types- the aurora borealis and aurora australis – often called the northern lights and southern lights.
  • It should also be noted here that Sun’s energy, in the form of the solar wind, is behind the whole process.

NASA’s MAVEN Mission:

  • Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is a spacecraft developed by NASA that went into orbit around Mars to study the planet's atmosphere. 
  • Mission goals include determining how the atmosphere and water, presumed to have once been substantial, were lost over time.
  • MAVEN was launched aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle at the beginning of the first launch window on November 18, 2013.
  • NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft has discovered “layers” and “rifts” in the electrically charged part of the upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) of Mars. 
  • The phenomenon is very common at Earth and causes unpredictable disruptions to radio communications. However, we do not fully understand them because they form at altitudes that are very difficult to explore at Earth. 
  • The unexpected discovery by MAVEN shows that Mars is a unique laboratory to explore and better understand this highly disruptive phenomenon.


United Arab Emirate's Mars Mission (EMM):

  • The Hope Mars Mission, also called the Emirates Mars Mission, is the first uncrewed, interplanetary satellite (opens in new tab) spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • In fact, the Hope satellite is the first planetary science mission led by an Arab-Islamic country.
  • ‘Hope’ was developed by UAE scientists in the USA and was launched in July 2020 from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.
  • The mission is officially named the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) and the orbiter has been named Hope or ‘Al Amal’.
GS Mains Classes GS Classes 2024 UPSC Study Material

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now