The sky in Mars was lit up owing to a comet passing close to the planet, according to scientists. Tons of space dust was released by the comet into Mars’ atmosphere thus producing a dazzling light show.
Dr. Nick Schneider, scientist in the University of Colorado and a part of the Maven mission by NASA thought that the red planet would have witnessed a lit up sky at night as large masses of shooting stars that are nothing but dust that burn in the atmosphere of Mars and pass through it at high speed.
According to Dr. Schneider, this event was very rare and it would have been really great to capture it by the two robotic mobile rovers that NASA has placed on Mars’ surface. This highlighted the limitations of the rovers, named Opportunity and Curiosity which were unable to capture the light show.
These hi-tech mobile rovers by NASA on Mars might have been more useful had they been fitted with instrument that could observe the rare phenomena of lights in the sky with the help of night vision. Though Opportunity photographed the comet named Siding Spring that raced across from around 87,000 miles of the surface of Mars on 19th November, it could not record the event.
James L Green, Director (Planetary Sciences), NASA, mentioned that the mobile rovers were not designed to capture movies or videos. The night sky glowed with bright UV light which is connected with magnesium. This phenomenon was observed by Maven’s orbiting spacecraft and Maven instruments detected the presence of iron, potassium and sodium along with zinc, nickel, chromium and manganese.
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