Space giant nose will smell methane on Mars looking for signs of

By , May 3, 2018 1:52 am

"Space giant nose" will "smell" methane on Mars: looking for signs of life ExoMars trace gas orbiter schematic source: Science and technology daily according to the European Space Agency news website, ExoMars non trace gas orbiter manned Mars mission "(TGO)" is scheduled for March launch from the Kazakhstan launch site in Baikonur, the window period is 14 days to the 25 day. With the project scientist Jorge · Vargo’s words, this detector is equivalent to a huge "nose" in space, can be used to sniff out methane on Mars, and determine whether it is produced by biological process. Most of the methane in the earth’s atmosphere is made by microbes, such as cattle and termite gut bacteria. And the discovery of methane on Mars will provide strong support for the idea that Mars exists or has existed in some form of life. To this end, ESA teamed up with Russian counterparts to map out a map of Martian methane. The previous mission has found low concentrations of methane in the atmosphere, while TGO has a highly sensitive spectrometer that can detect even methane levels as low as trillions. There are two ways: one is the observation of Mars at dawn and dusk, when the sun detector, scientists can obtain detailed information from the surface of Mars methane content in different height; two is down to "see" to the surface of Mars, and draw the map of Mars methane hot. The TGO spectrometer also detects key chemicals and gases other than methane, to determine that Martian methane is produced by living organisms, and is only a byproduct of geological processes. Vargo stressed that if the methane and other complex hydrocarbon gases exist at the same time, such as propane and ethane, it will be shown that a strong evidence of the related biological process; if found methane also found that sulfur dioxide (a kind of chemical products and activities are closely related to the volcano on earth), it can be sure of methane from the bottom. Is in the escape in geological activities. In addition to TGO, the ExoMars project is scheduled to launch a Mars rover on 2018. Therefore, the task is not only shouldering the burden of finding methane and other trace gases, but also testing the package of the landing equipment to be used two years later. It is reported that TGO10 months to Mars orbit, a named "Schiapparelli" (Italy astronomer name, the earliest part of the Mars map drawn by him) the landing craft will be released, the lander will return the accurate information when landing through the Martian atmosphere. (reporter Chen Dan)

“太空巨鼻”将“嗅”火星甲烷:寻找生命踪迹 ExoMars痕量气体轨道探测器示意图   文章来源:科技日报   据欧洲空间局网站消息,ExoMars非载人火星探测任务的“痕量气体轨道探测器(TGO)”定于3月从哈萨克斯坦拜科努尔发射场升空,窗口期为14日至25日。用项目科学家豪尔赫·瓦戈的话来说,这个探测器相当于太空中的一个巨大“鼻子”,可用来嗅出火星上的甲烷,并确定其是否由生物过程产生。   地球大气中的甲烷大多由微生物制造,比如牛和白蚁的肠道细菌。而探测到火星上的甲烷的话,将为火星存在或者曾经存在过某种生命形式的设想提供强有力支持。为此,欧空局与俄罗斯同行联手,希望绘制出一份火星甲烷地图。   此前的火星任务曾发现大气中低含量的甲烷,而TGO拥有一套高灵敏度光谱仪,即使甲烷水平低至万亿分之几,也能检测出来。方法有两种:一是在黎明和黄昏时观测火星,这时阳光直射探测器,科学家可以获得距离火星地表不同高度的甲烷含量的详细信息;二是向下“看”向火星地表,由此绘制出火星的甲烷热点地图。   TGO的光谱仪还能够检测出甲烷以外的关键化学物质和气体,以确定火星甲烷是由生命体产生,还只仅仅是地质过程的副产品。瓦戈强调,如果甲烷与其他复杂烃类气体同时存在,比如丙烷或乙烷,这将是表明其与生物过程相关的一个强有力证据;如果找到甲烷的同时还发现二氧化硫(一种与地球上火山活动密切相关的化学产物),则可以肯定甲烷来自地底,是在地质活动中逸出的。   除了TGO,ExoMars项目还定于2018年发射火星漫游车。因此,此次任务不仅肩负着寻找甲烷和其他痕量气体的重担,还对两年后将要使用的登陆设备包进行测试。据悉,TGO10月份抵达火星轨道后,一个名为“斯基亚帕雷利”(意大利天文学家的名字,最早的火星地图部分由他绘制)的登陆飞船届时也将被释放,这个着陆器将传回其降落时穿越火星大气层的精确信息。(记者 陈丹)相关的主题文章:

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