Join Donate

Emily LakdawallaMarch 4, 2015

Mars Orbiter Mission Methane Sensor for Mars is at work

After several months of near-silence, ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission has released on Facebook the first data product from its Methane Sensor For Mars. Don't get too excited about methane yet: the methane sensor data does not yet indicate the presence or absence of methane in the atmosphere. The excellent news here is that the Methane Sensor for Mars is working, systematically gathering data.

The map shows the reflectance of the surface of Mars in the methane sensor's reference channel, a wavelength in which atmospheric methane is transparent to infrared radiation. The data that underlie this map will eventually be compared to the methane sensor's other channel, a wavelength in which methane absorbs light, to attempt to map methane at the part-per-billion level in Mars' atmosphere.

Early results from the Mars Orbiter Mission Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM) instrument

SAC / ISRO

Early results from the Mars Orbiter Mission Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM) instrument
The Methane Sensor for Mars has two channels, one sensitive to methane and one to measure the background reflectance of Mars at a wavelength of 1.65 microns (a wavelength at which methane is transparent) for calibration purposes. The reflectance of Mars in this reference channel will be compared to its reflectance in a channel where methane is opaque to measure the abundance of atmospheric methane. This graphic contains data acquired up to December 15, 2014.

At the same time, the mission posted on their newly redesigned website several new photos from the Mars Colour Camera, including this very fine one of Valles Marineris:

Valles Marineris from Mars Orbiter Mission

ISRO

Valles Marineris from Mars Orbiter Mission

And this appears to be a much better-resolution version image from the series of Phobos images that I wrote about previously. I love the thin line of the Martian atmosphere in this view.

Phobos near the limb of Mars from Mars Orbiter Mission

SAC / ISRO

Phobos near the limb of Mars from Mars Orbiter Mission
Likely taken on October 14, 2014, near 11:25 UT.

This oblique view of Arsia Mons is clearly a rendered product using a digital elevation model; they didn't indicate whether the digital elevation model was created from Mars Orbiter Mission data or uses other data sets (like Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data). I will ask to see if I can get more information!

Oblique view of Arsia Mons from Mars Orbiter Mission

ISRO

Oblique view of Arsia Mons from Mars Orbiter Mission

Read more: Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), pretty pictures, atmospheres, mission status, Mars, Phobos

You are here:
Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla
Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

Comments & Sharing
MER
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

Support enables our dedicated journalists to research deeply and bring you original space exploration articles.

Donate