As you’ve probably seen, NASA has been exploring Mars for years now. But now in a potentially groundbreaking discovery, they’ve detected atomic oxygen in the Red Planet’s atmosphere for the first time in 40 years.
An instrument onboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) discovered the atoms in the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere known as the mesosphere. This important for showing exactly what kind of atmosphere there is on Mars - namely how other gases escape Mars to make room for Oxygen.
The levels they found were only half of what was expected, but the results are still helpful to demonstrate the variations in various atmospheric locations.
"Atomic oxygen in the Martian atmosphere is notoriously difficult to measure," said Pamela Marcum, SOFIA project scientist. "To observe the far-infrared wavelengths needed to detect atomic oxygen, researchers must be above the majority of Earth’s atmosphere and use highly sensitive instruments, in this case a spectrometer. SOFIA provides both capabilities."
Last time Oxygen was found in Mars’ atmosphere was during the Viking and Mariner missions of the 1970s, which required firing rockets up there.
But now, thanks to SOFIA’s airborne location - 37-45,000 feet above the Earth’s atmosphere on a modified Boeing 747SP carrying a 100-inch diameter telescope, they can grab regular and detailed data.
All data is transmitted to the German Receiver for Astronomy at Terahertz Frequencies (GREAT), giving astronomers unprecedented access to viewing oxygen levels in the Martian atmosphere and compare to Earth.
First water, now air? Peace out, Planet Earth.
I get it. We’re all scared in the wake of the tragedy in Westminster last Wednesday. Khalid Masood’s actions in committing this atrocity are truly reprehensible. But digital communication is not at fault, and adding an Orwellian level of surveillance is not the answer.
Broadband problems? Under new Ofcom proposals, you will no longer have to “fight tooth and nail” for the “fair compensation” you are owed. If approved, Internet Service Providers will automatically have to pay customers for bad broadband, delayed repairs and missed engineer appointments.
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Sex toys have taken another step forward with the Flashlight Launch - a masturbation machine that takes all the manual arm work out of reaching climax.
Snapchat story clones are cropping up everywhere in Facebook-owned apps and it’s not necessary. Would you ever want to post the same story across four different platforms? Or course not.
What is the future of wearables? I went to The Wearable Technology Show and found out - writing for BBC Science Focus magazine.
Forget everything you knew about smart homes and the Legend of Zelda… One particular fan has managed to create a home automation system that is controlled by playing the Ocarina.
Following the instant success of Pokémon GO in summer 2016, rumours began that developer Niantic was working on another game – simply named Harry Potter GO. This is fake news, so please stop sharing it.
A team of researchers have done something incredible yet terrifying - using sound waves to hack a smartphone, using a method that could be used to theoretically control any technology with an accelerometer.
I get it - the headline sounds terrifying. But Switzerland’s EPFL has just invented a medical masterpiece that could help to reinvent robotic healthcare. These gelatinous machines could soon be crawling around your insides and performing operations.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.