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NASA spacecraft recorded a unique event on Mars: the same thing happened to Earth 24 years ago

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Solar wind blows atmosphere off Mars

At the end of December 2022, the NASA MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars discovered a completely unexpected and extremely rare phenomenon. The solar wind disappeared over the red planet, which led to the expansion of the planet's atmosphere and magnetosphere by about three times.

The results of the observation were reported by the lead author of the new study, Jasper S. Halekas from the University of Iowa. The disappearance of the solar wind was the result of a powerful solar event that stopped the flow of charged solar particles reaching Mars.

"When we first saw the data and how dramatic the solar wind drop was, it was almost unbelievable," Halekas said.

Further research revealed that the disappearance of the solar wind was only the beginning of interesting events.

It is known that the atmosphere of Mars suffers from the solar wind, which literally blows it off the planet. This process is known to scientists as "atmospheric escape".

On the day the solar wind disappeared, December 25, 2022, according to NASA, much faster particles left behind a void of "extremely low-density solar wind," which led to a decrease in pressure on the red planet's atmosphere.

As a result, the Martian atmosphere and ionosphere swelled more than three times, leading to a temporary demagnetization of the ionosphere.

Everything that happened during this process was recorded by MAVEN scientific instruments. Thus, now scientists have the opportunity to better understand how these processes work.

In addition, this event allows them to make assumptions about what Mars might look like under different space conditions.

"We can see how Mars reacts to the effective removal of the solar wind. This gives us a great opportunity to study what Mars would be like if it were orbiting a less 'windy' star," Halekas said.

It is worth noting that MAVEN was actually designed to observe the interaction between the Sun and the Martian atmosphere, so it is not surprising that "the spacecraft provided exceptional data during this truly anomalous solar event."

As early as December 27, 2022, the solar wind resumed its pressure on Mars, causing the atmosphere and ionosphere to shrink to their normal size.

It is worth noting that in 1999, a NASA satellite recorded a similar event on Earth. Then the disappearance of the solar wind led to the fact that the ionosphere of our planet increased five times.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA told you that life could have existed on Mars before, but the planet "committed suicide".

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