NASA simulator helps uncover the secrets of the solar system

NASA simulator helps uncover the secrets of the Solar System

An example of the earth Venus and the phosphine molecule, made up of one phosphorus and three hydrogen atoms. Phosphine is considered a bioindicator, that is, a signal that life can function. Found: Danielle Futselaar

Even in our backyard, the solar system, many questions remain unanswered. There are many volcanoes on Venus, but it is not known if they are volcanoes. The surface of Mars shows a large ocean ahead, but it is not clear how it will disappear. On the other hand, the discovery of chemical compounds that show the existence of biological activity on Mars and Venus, called biosignatures, is fueling the search for life outside of Earth. . The answers may lie in looking at the light that comes to us from these stars, through the “finger signals” placed by the molecules in the spectrum of that light.

In the article currently published by Lewaresearchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, Portugal) compared the obtained simulations with a Planetary Spectrum Generator (PSG), a planetary spectrum simulator, with the observation of infrared light from the planets Venus, Mars and Jupiter.

Using PSG, developed by NASA, the team was able to interpret the results of certain observations and decided that this simulator would be a useful tool for studying the number of chemical compounds found in little things in the skies of the earth.

One of the chemical compounds analyzed, methane, is from biodiversity and earth processes. The reason for his inability to reach Mars, whether spotted by the Mars Express or not spotted by the ExoMars TGO spacecraft, is a mystery.

“By changing the parts of our simulation, we were able to interpret this knowledge and the lack of knowledge of methane on Mars and understand the conditions and places where they could act. this plays an important role in explaining the association of methane on Mars The viability of life, ”said Pedro Machado (IA & Ciências Lisboa), lead author of this study.

NASA simulator helps uncover the secrets of the Solar System

Earth maps on Mars show the presence of water in the past. Found: NASA

Something unseen on the red earth, of great interest to the science of extraterrestrial life, astrobiology, is the result of most of its water. Evidence shows that this is a large flow around the world, and most of the northern region is large ocean. Today, Mars is an ice desert.

“Knowing the ratio between the two similar types of hydrogen, the deuterium isotope and simple hydrogen, will help us understand the physical change of water on Mars.2Oh, made with a deuterium atom and a hydrogen atom, HDO, is heavier and escapes the air with difficulty. Comparing this ratio at the ground level and at the level on Mars, as far as this study is concerned, gives us valuable information about the impact of Martian water, “explains João Dias (IA & Ciências Lisboa), the lead author of this study.

Also included in this study, phosphine can be produced in high pressure and hot places in the presence of phosphorus and hydrogen, the two chemical constituents. “This is what happens on Jupiter, with phosphine being one of the main contributors to the color groups in the atmosphere of this gas giant,” explains Pedro Machado, “but on a rocky earth, like Earth, where it does not have these important conditions. its existence is associated with biological activity. “

NASA simulator helps uncover the secrets of the Solar System

The second is at the land of Sirenum Fossae on Mars, showing evidence of a past flow of water. Available: NASA / JPL / University of Arizona

So, by the year 2020 a study on phosphine was discovered in the clouds of Venus, the scientific community had turned to this planet. “Further studies done under other conditions have shown that phosphine is not available in the aftermath or at a lower rate than previously observed, which is a possibility. we do it again, ”Pedro Machado said.

On Venus, “sulfur dioxide is very important for us to know if there is a volcanic activity. By accurately determining the amount of this compound at different levels, as we have shown it is possible. with PSG, we can decide on his. cause, “added João Dias.

“This work is important for the space missions under construction, such as EnVision, Ariel, and Mars Express, from the European Space Agency (ESA), where IA is involved, by telling us intended assets for These chemical fields and the approval of equipment designed for these missions are to be found in the range of intended assets, “said Pedro Machado, a joint research of these missionaries.

NASA simulator helps uncover the secrets of the Solar System

A photograph of Mars 4.5 million years ago shows a large ocean in the northern hemisphere. Found: NASA / GSFC / Rex

“Essentially, missions like Ariel, which study the skies of stars that orbit stars other than the Sun, exoplanets, will benefit greatly from this type of solar system studies. , can serve as a model for what we think can be looked at from the outside.. the solar system, “added João Dias.

“This demonstration of PSG’s importance to the scientific community is very important, and the IA is at the head of these studies by bringing its team, Planetary Systems, two experts to teach the the atmosphere of the planets in the solar system and the knowledge and nature of the exoplanets, ”said Pedro Machado.


Searching for the secret of Venus hidden in the heat of the night


More information:
João A. Dias et al, From Atmospheric Evolution to Exploring the Types of Astrobiological Desire in the Solar System – How to Use the Planetary Spectrum Generator, Lewa (2022). DOI: 10.3390 / atmos13030461

Presented by the University of Lisbon

Directions: NASA simulator helps unravel mysteries of solar system (2022, April 1) Retrieved 1 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-nasa-simulator-mysteries -solar.html

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