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Encyclopedia > Planetary Fourier Spectrometer
An image of the interferometer used in the core of the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer.
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An image of the interferometer used in the core of the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer.

The Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) is an infrared spectrometer built by the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (Italian National Institute for Astrophysics) along with the Istituto di Fisica dello spazio Interplanetario and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italian National Research Counci). The instrument is currently used by the European Space Agency on both the Mars Express Mission and the Venus Express Mission. It consists of four units which together weigh around 31.4 kg, including a pointing device, a power supply, a control unit, and an interferometer with electronics. [1] The main objective of the instrument is to study the chemical composition of a planet's atmosphere through the infrared radiation that is reflected and emitted by the planet. Interferometry is the applied science of combining two or more input points of a particular data type, such as optical measurements, to form a greater picture based on the combination of the two sources. ... Image of a small dog taken in mid-infrared (thermal) light (false color) Infrared (IR) radiation is electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength longer than that of visible light, but shorter than that of radio waves. ... // Headline text Bold text:For Acoustic uses in spectrographs of sound waves, see below. ... The Italian National Research Council (CNR) is a public organization of great relevance in the field of scientific and technological research of the Country whose original institution goes back to year 1923. ... The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 17 member states. ... Concept model of the Mars Express spacecraft Mars Express is a Mars exploration mission of the European Space Agency and the first planetary mission attempted by the agency. ... Venus Express is the first Venus exploration mission of the European Space Agency. ...


On March of 2004, Professor Vittorio Formisano, the researcher in charge of the Mars Express Planetary Fourier Spectrometer, announced the discovery of methane in the Martian atmosphere. However, methane cannot persist in the Martian atmosphere for more than a few hundred years since it can be broken down by sunlight. Thus, this discovery suggests that the methane is being continually replenished by some unidentified volcanic or geologic process, or that some kind of extremophile life form similar to some existing on Earth is metabolising carbon dioxide and hydrogen and producing methane. [2]In July 2004, rumours began to circulate that Formisano would announce the discovery of ammonia at an upcoming conference. It later came to light that none had been found; in fact some noted that the PFS was not precise enough to distinguish ammonia from carbon dioxide anyway.[3] March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The simplest hydrocarbon, methane, is a gas with a chemical formula of CH4. ... Smoking Bromo and Semeru (background) volcanoes on Java in Indonesia. ... An extremophile is an organism, usually unicellular, which thrives in or requires extreme conditions. ... Santorio Santorio (1561-1636) in his steelyard balance, from Ars de statica medecina, first published 1614 Metabolism (from μεταβολισμος (metabolismos)) is the biochemical modification of chemical compounds in living organisms anggjgjhnd cell (b). ... Carbon dioxide is an atmospheric gas comprised of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3. ... Carbon dioxide is an atmospheric gas comprised of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. ...


References

  1. ^ PFS: Planetary Fourier Spectrometer. ESA. Retrieved on Auguest 31, 2006.
  2. ^ Martian gases poses life question. BBC News. Retrieved on Auguest 31, 2006.
  3. ^ The search for life on Mars. Nature.com. Retrieved on March 19, 2006.

External links

  • ESA Venus Express PFS page
  • ESA Mars Express PFS page

 
 

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