Science & Technology

The James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope by NASA spares no effort to astound the globe. NASA has been releasing amazing images of the universe that were captured by the JWST, also known as Webb, since July 2022. The first images and spectra of Mars were captured by Webb, the most powerful telescope in the world, on September 5. This gave everyone new information about the Red Planet. The Sun-Earth Lagrange point 2, a special observation site located over a million kilometers from Mars, is Webb’s residence.

About the pictures taken from the James Webb Space Telescope

James

The pictures give a more comprehensive view of Mars’s more transient events, such as dust storms or even weather patterns. In the first picture, the dark brown color is broken up by three lighter brown spots on the bottom left, right, and left-hand sides. The Huygens Crater, the Hellas Basin, and the black volcanic rock known as Syrtis Major are among the several features that the arrows show where they are.

The bright side of the Red Planet that was facing the telescope was visible thanks to Webb, which was launched in December 2021 and is situated around one million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth. According to NASA, Webb’s vantage point allows it to simultaneously observe Martian processes that take place at different times of the day. This will aid researchers in their study of transient phenomena like seasonal changes, weather, and dust storms. Webb’s photos offer information that is a useful addition to the information obtained by other telescopes, rovers, and orbiters that are exploring Mars. 

Visibility of Mars in the sky

The Red Planet is actually the brightest object in the dark sky, both in terms of visible light (which human eyes can perceive) and the infrared light that Webb is meant to detect, due to its close proximity. The observatory, which was constructed to detect the incredibly faint light of the universe’s most distant galaxies, faces unique hurdles as a result of this. 

Detection found from the images

Without appropriate viewing procedures, the strong infrared light from Mars is so brilliant that it overwhelms Webb’s instruments, a condition known as “detector saturation.” The high brightness of Mars was compensated for by astronomers utilizing very brief exposures, measuring only a portion of the light that reached the detectors, and using specialized data analysis methods.

Numerous rock samples have been collected by NASA’s Perseverance rover. Scientists believe that Jezero Crater is one of the best places on Mars to look for evidence of ancient microbial life. This is where the rover is currently working.

Since July 7, the rover has taken four samples from an old river delta in Jezero Crater on the Red Planet, increasing the total number of scientifically intriguing rock samples gathered by the rover to 12.

By 2033, the space agency intends to retrieve the rock samples through a different program. Could the earliest samples that were taken and sent back provide insight into the existence of life on Mars in the past?

The rover “Percy” is looking for signs of biological life that may have existed on Jezero 3.5 billion years ago when it was covered by a lake and a river.

The James Webb Space Telescope might also be useful for astronomers searching for methane, hydrogen chloride, and other chemical compounds as trace gases in the Martian atmosphere. It has been particularly challenging to establish the presence of methane, a possible indicator of past life on Mars, using other equipment. Scientists are now optimistic that Webb will be able to assist.

 So, what’s next for the Red Mighty Mars?

If you liked the content, please share, follow and like us: