Variation of light at the surface of Mars: UV, visible and near-infrared radiation

Patel, M.R.; Otter, S. and Zarnecki, J.C. (2011). Variation of light at the surface of Mars: UV, visible and near-infrared radiation. In: Exploring Mars Habitability, 13-15 Jun 2011, Lisbon, Portugal.



The spectral content of martian solar radiation at the surface has been studied previously at ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths, however to date no studies on the comparison of the full UV, visible and near infrared (NIR) spectrum have been conducted. UV radiation plays a crucial role in determining the conditions for life, since solar light at wavelengths <280 nm can be extremely damaging to living organisms. The amount and extent of solar radiation reaching the surface below 280 nm is therefore of vital importance in any discussion relating to the question of life at the martian surface. Conversely, longer wavelength solar radiation is beneficial to some forms of life, providing an energy source for growth via photosynthesis at visible wavelengths. Thus knowledge of the relative balance between damaging UV and beneficial visible radiation is always required in astrobiological investigations concerning the surface of Mars. Here we present results from modelling of surface irradiances covering the wavelength range 200‐1100 nm under a variety of conditions, examining the relative behaviour of the UV, visible and NIR regions of light.

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