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Mars under the most advanced telescope in the world. “James Webb” took some pictures of the Red Planet

The James Webb Space Observatory continues to study the planets of the solar system. The telescope took several pictures of Mars, and they immediately allowed scientists to learn something new about the Red Planet, despite the fact that Mars is the most studied planet in our system, not counting the Earth.

In particular, the data from the NIRCam instrument made it possible to observe that the Hellas plain is darker than the surrounding areas during the hottest time of the day. One would think that this area is simply colder, but this is not the reason.

In fact, this is not a thermal effect. The Hellas Plain is at a lower altitude, and therefore there is a higher atmospheric pressure. This higher pressure leads to the suppression of thermal radiation in that particular wavelength range (4.1-4.4 µm) due to an effect called pressure expansion.

The bottom line is that the plain is a huge and very old impact crater. Because of this, the surface of the plain lies 9 km lower than the surrounding upland.

Mars under the most advanced telescope in the world.

In addition, the telescope made it possible to obtain new data on the composition of the atmosphere of Mars and not only. A preliminary analysis of the spectrum shows a rich set of spectral features containing information about dust, ice clouds, what rocks are on the surface of the planet, and the composition of the atmosphere. The spectral characteristics of water, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are easily detected with the new telescope. This allows scientists to better work with exoplanet data. Scientists also expect that the data from James Webb will put an end to the debate about the presence of methane on Mars, which may be associated (but not necessarily) with the vital activity of organisms on the Red Planet right now.

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