It might look like a postcard from Arizona. But this whole picture shows something much more exotic: the planet. MarsAs seen by NASA’s Curiosity rover.
The image is a collection of 21 photos recently used by the rover to study strange small clouds above Gale Crater’s home.Scientists realized the world two years ago that clouds formed faster than they did. Mars in the previous year So this year of Mars Curiosity Was watching the clouds early and was not disappointed. Clouds began to emerge in late January, when sky-observing robots began capturing the ice-filled clouds and scattered by the sometimes brightly colored sunlight.
“I̵7;m always amazed by the colors that appear: red and green and blue and purple,” said Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist at the Space Science Institute in Colorado. Said in a statement from NASA.It’s really cool to see something shining in many colors on Mars. ”
Related: NASA’s Curiosity rover takes a selfie on Mars at ‘Mont Mercou’ (photos)
Surprisingly, these clouds appeared high in Mars atmosphere Much more than the clouds that scientists typically see on Earth, according to NASA.Usually, if clouds move through curiosity, structures fill up with ice and hover about 37 miles (60 kilometers) above the surface of Mars.
The clouds in Curiosity’s new photo are higher than in the atmosphere, although NASA has not specified altitude. The differences may reflect different compositions, clouds of freezing carbon dioxide or dry iceAccording to the agency’s report, although scientists are still not convinced of that explanation.
Clouds are at their prettiest after sunset, when the last light causes ice crystals to glow, which is why scientists call them noctilucent, or shining at night. (Curiosity was able to detect these lightless clouds with both a black and white guide and a color mast camera.)
Some of these clouds appear slightly rainbow colored when cloud particles are very similar in size, Lemmon said, which typically occurs when clouds have just formed and grow at the same speed.
Email Meghan Bartels at email@example.com. Or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels follow us On Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook