(ORDO NEWS) — The Al-Amal (or Hope) probe sent by the United Arab Emirates to explore Mars has captured stunning images of the dust storm on the Red Planet.
Alas, much of what happens on Mars remains a mystery to us.
The probe provides detailed information about the structure and variability of the Martian atmosphere using a range of onboard cameras and scientific instruments.
Although the atmosphere of Mars is much thinner than that of Earth, it is still enough to create winds. They easily pick up fine dust particles, creating a storm strong enough to cover the entire planet in haze.
Al Amal has provided unprecedented data on how these storms develop over time, using its camera and infrared spectrometer to characterize the thermal state of the Red Planet’s surface and its lower atmosphere.
Scientists were able to observe how the storm develops, which spreads to mountains and craters. Having access to this kind of data could one day help people living on the Red Planet. The first colonizers will be able to find out whether it is safe to go outside or whether to close the solar panels.
How Al-Amal works
Al-Amal has an EXI camera system that collects images in three visible and two ultraviolet wavelengths, providing a multispectral “satellite view” of Mars.
The probe is also equipped with EMIRS, an interferometric thermal infrared spectrometer designed to characterize the lower layers of the Martian atmosphere. Its measurements are used by the team to determine the distribution of dust, water ice, and water vapor, as well as surface and atmospheric temperatures.
The instrument observed storms for two weeks on the Great Sirtis Quadrangle. In this place there is a gently sloping dead volcano, covered with very thin layers of basaltic sand deposits. Normal terrain is obscured by clouds of water ice and dust, so the data obtained by Al-Amal is a real discovery.
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