LONDON: The UAE’s Hope space probe has challenged scientists’ understanding of Mars after discovering a new, intense form of aurora on the planet, The Independent reported on Friday.
The probe’s arrival on Mars in February 2021 coincided with a solar storm that scientists believe generated the aurora, previously thought an impossible phenomenon due to the planet’s lack of magnetic field.
The display consists of worm-like tendrils of ultra-violet light snaking halfway around Mars in the planet’s upper atmosphere.
“The sinuous discrete aurora was a shocking discovery that in many ways has us scratching our heads and going back to the drawing board,” said University of California, Berkeley planetary scientist Rob Lillis.
“We have ideas, but no solid explanation for why we are observing intense aurora of this shape and at planetary scales.”