Mars Orbiter Spectrometer Finds Suprathermal Argon in Red Planet’s Exosphere

Chennai: A mass spectrometer on board the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), has discovered ‘hot’ (suprathermal) Argon in the exosphere of Mars that would help understand the energy deposition in the Martian upper atmosphere.

”The discovery has important implications in the context of understanding the energy deposition in the Martian upper atmosphere and will help understand why the Martian atmospheric escape rates are higher than what was believed previously”, a release posted in the website of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today said.

The discovery was made by Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) experiment on-board the MOM. MENCA is a mass spectrometer, developed at Space Physics Laboratory of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram.

It was providing in-situ measurements of the neutral composition of the exosphere of Mars. MENCA has provided several measurements of the composition of the key species of the Martian neutral exosphere. Observations pertaining to the evening time exosphere of Mars, has already been published on May 2, 2016.