James Webb Space Telescope from NASA: NASA and the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter have compiled a reference map of the hemisphere of Mars that has been seen (MOLA). The picture was captured by NIRCam at 2.1 microns using the F212 filter and displayed reflected sunlight on the surface. This image reveals surface characteristics like craters and dust layers.
A simultaneous NIRCam picture displaying 4.3-micron (F430M filter) emitted light that displays temperature changes with latitude and time of day, in addition to the darkening of the Hellas Basin induced by atmospheric factors. The saturated limit of the detector can be seen to be slightly beyond the brilliant yellow region.
(EPSC) The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which NASA operates, has taken its first pictures of Mars by observing its infrared light with an extremely high degree of sensitivity.
The first photographs and spectra of the planet taken by the James Webb Space Telescope were shown for the first time on September 19, Monday, during the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC).
The most powerful telescope in the world can see ephemeral phenomena on Mars, such as weather patterns and dust storms.
The photographs and measurements were taken on September 5 from where JWST is now operating, about 1.6 million kilometers (one million miles) from Mars.
Images of Mars taken by JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) may provide planetary scientists with a distinct perspective on the planet. The observable disc is the area of the planet that faces the telescope and is lighted by the sun.
The information was sent with the assistance of rovers like NASA’s Perseverance and a vessel that was orbiting Mars.
The Webbs had difficulty seeing the Red Planet because of its proximity to the sun and brightness.
During the news conference held by the Earth Science and Physical Computation Center (ESPC), the principal investigator, who is also a scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Giuliano Liuzzi, said that the brightness of Mars made it difficult for them to view the planet.
The Brilliant Radiance of Mars
The study experts utilized adequate exposure to prevent the infrared radiation from Mars’s Red Planet from rendering the JWST’s equipment unable to function properly.
They employed a variety of approaches to analyze the data that was acquired and analyzed some of the light that was received by JWST’s sensors.
The JWST would be able to collect the necessary pictures and spectra if it had better spatial resolution. After that, astronomers will investigate the short-term happenings that take place on the planet, such as dust storms, Martian weather patterns, and the shifts brought about by the changing seasons.
In addition to its other impressive capabilities, the Webb telescope can record events at various times during the Martian day in a single observation.
The first infrared photographs of Mars show an area of the planet’s eastern hemisphere in two distinct light wavelengths.
The reflection of sunlight predominates in the picture captured with a short wavelength, and it shows characteristics on Mars’ surface that are analogous to those seen in visible light. The Syrtis Major Planum is home to a crater close to 450 kilometers in width and a black volcanic rock.
According to a study by NASA, the NIRCam camera on Webb’s telescope captured the light of a longer wavelength that the planet produces when its humidity decreases. The brightness in question is linked to the planet’s temperature and atmosphere. It is lowest in the Martian polar regions, which get far less sunlight than the rest of the planet.
Hints of Hella Basin’s Atmosphere
- An examination of the light spectrum produced by light observed from the planet may provide astronomers with information on the composition of the surface and atmosphere of Mars.
- Even during the warmest part of the planet’s day, Luizzi and his colleagues discovered that the Hellas Basin, 1,200 miles wide, had a darker appearance than its surroundings.
- Luizzi said that one of the amazing things is that it is possible to observe a black region on Mars that is a basin.
The structure, according to Luizzi, is the consequence of light being absorbed by CO2 as it travels through Mars’ atmosphere.
According to the findings of the Goddard researchers, “The Hellas Basin is located at a lower height, and as a result, it receives greater air pressure.” When the pressure increases, the phenomenon known as pressure broadening occurs, which is the suppression of thermal emission at a certain wavelength.
The photos will also demonstrate the capability of the JWST to research Mars using a method known as spectroscopy, based on data obtained from an instrument called the Near-Infrared Spectrograph.
The existence of water, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other chemical components will be identified through JWST observations.
In addition, Luizzi acknowledged the inclusion of the methane finding and emphasized the significance of doing so when discussing the geological processes of Mars.
The JWST team at NASA is now working on a manuscript to present their results and submit it for review.