Curiosity points clouds above Mont Mercou: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured these clouds after sunset on March 19, 2021, the 3,063 Mars day or sun of the rover’s mission. Illustration with 21 images, each stitched together and color corrected to make the scene appear as the human eye. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Download Image ›
The science team is studying the clouds. which arrived ahead of schedule and formed beyond expectations. to learn more about the Red Planet.
Cloudy days are rare in Mars̵7; thin, dry atmosphere. in general Clouds are found at the Earth’s equator during the coldest times of the year. Mars is farthest from the Sun in an elliptical orbit. But one full year on Mars — two Earth years — scientists noticed clouds forming above NASA’s Curiosity rover earlier than expected.
This year, they are ready to start recording these “early” clouds when they first appeared in late January. The end result is the image of a small puff. filled with ice crystals that scattered the light of the setting sun. some of which are dazzling with colorful lights It’s not just an amazing exhibit. The images also help scientists understand how clouds form on Mars. And why are these latest clouds different?
In fact, Curiosity’s team has now discovered one new thing: clouds that arrived ahead of time were at higher altitudes than normal. Most Martian clouds float within 60 kilometers in the sky and consist of water ice, but the clouds Curiosity photographed were at higher altitudes. which is very cold This indicates that they are likely made from frozen carbon dioxide or dry ice. Scientists look for subtle clues to create cloud heights And further analysis will be needed to determine which of Curiosity’s latest images show ice clouds and dry ice.
The detailed, wavy structure of these clouds is easier to see with Curiosity’s monochromatic navigation camera image, but the color image from the rover’s Mast Camera or Mastcam truly shines. when looking at the sunset Their ice crystals capture the fading light. making it look like it glows against the dark sky. These twilight clouds are known as clouds. “noctilucent” (Latin for “Shining in the night”) will light up when filled with crystals. It then darkens after the sun’s position in the sky drops below its altitude. This is just one useful clue that scientists use to determine how tall they are.
Even more beautiful are the rainbow clouds? “Mother of Pearls” “If you see a cloud with a glittering pastel dress That’s because all cloud particles are about the same size,” says Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist at the Boulder Institute of Space Sciences. Colorado said “It usually happens after clouds form and grow at the same rate.”
These clouds are the more colorful ones on the Red Planet. he added If you’re looking at the sky next to Curios City You can see colors with the naked eye. Even if those colors are faded
“I’m always amazed at the colors that appear: red, green, blue and purple,” Lemmon said.
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Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.
Karen Fox / Alana Johnson
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