Employees of the Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences have found water vapor in the middle atmosphere of Mars. The opening of Russian scientists refute, according to the press service of the institution, "the generally accepted hypothesis that an extremely thin atmosphere of the planet at such heights, water can not exist in a supersaturated state."
As a result of further analysis of the data ICI staff clarified that while observing water vapor in a state of saturation was observed in almost all of the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere this condition is observed only in the North Pole.
Now scientists refine models of water circulation, and the story of its loss of the Red Planet.
Water vapor at a height of 20 to 50 km from the planet's surface could be detected by a multifunctional optical spectrometer SPICAM, mounted on the spacecraft "Mars Express".
It was launched into space June 2, 2003 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch vehicle "Soyuz-FG" with the upper stage "Fregat".
In the multifunctional optical spectrometer SPICAM, established jointly by Russia, Belgium and the United States, there are six scientific instruments. Three of them are designed and manufactured by the Institute of Space Research, including the near-IR spectrometer radiation SPICAM, designed to measure the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere of the Red Planet. The device consists of two channels, two different spectrometers UV range (118 — 320 nm) of a diffraction grating and a CCD with an image intensifier and a near-infrared (1 — 1.7 m). Russian IR channel created in Space Research Institute under the direction of O. Korableva using the new technology: radiation filtration using acousto-optic tunable filter.
The work of Russian scientists, in collaboration with foreign colleagues is of great scientific and practical value for the preparation and organization of future manned missions to Mars and other planets. This work is supported by the Russian Space Agency in the framework of the Federal Space Program of Russia.