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UAE’s Hope Mars mission discovers patchy new aurora variety over Red Planet

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) has discovered patchy ‘proton auroras’ above Mars, suggesting unexpectedly chaotic conditions where the solar wind interacts with the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere.

Having arrived in orbit around Mars on Feb. 9, 2021, the United Arab Emirates’ Hope spacecraft has been monitoring the Red Planet with, among other tools, its Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS) instrument. The mission team had hoped to use the instrument to see variability in the composition of the upper atmosphere of Mars, in particular the prevalence of oxygen and carbon monoxide, as well as to spot hydrogen and oxygen escaping into space as the Red Planet’s water slowly leaks away.

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