NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
NASA's planned Mars orbiter, computer artwork. This proposed orbiter is intended to be used to search for signs of life in the Martian atmosphere. It is known as Mars Volcanic Emission and Life Scout (Marvel). It is planned it will carry two sensitive instruments. One will be a solar occultation infrared spectrometer, looking sideways through the atmosphere at the setting or rising Sun to analyse chemicals in the air. The other will be a submillimeter spectrometer, used all the time. The infrared spectrometer will be sensitive to methane, which is produced by primitive organisms. The submillimeter spectrometer will look primarily for water vapour.
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