Curiosity Rover captures the shining clouds of Mars

Curiosity spot Iridescent (pearl mother) cloud. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Cloudy days are rare in the thin, dry atmosphere of Mars. Clouds are usually found on the planet’s equator during the coldest months of the year, when Mars is farthest from the Sun in its elliptical orbit. But a year before Mars, two years before Earth, scientists noticed that clouds were forming on NASA’s Curiosity Rover earlier than expected.

This year, they were ready to start these “early” documentation cloud From the moment they first appeared in late January.The result is an image of a faint puff filled with ice crystals Scattered light from the setting sun, some of them sparkle in color. Such images not only provide a stunning display, but also help scientists understand how clouds form on Mars and how recent clouds differ.

In fact, the Curiosity team has already made one new discovery. That is, the early arrival clouds are actually at higher altitudes than usual. Most Martian clouds float only about 37 miles (60 km) in the sky and are composed of water ice.However, the clouds that curiosity imagined Higher altitude, Indicates that it is likely made of frozen carbon dioxide or dry ice in a very cold place. Scientists look for subtle clues to establish cloud altitude. Further analysis is needed to see which of the recent images of curiosity show water ice clouds and which show dry ice clouds.

Curiosity Rover captures the shining clouds of Mars

Curiosity shows the clouds floating above Mount Aeolians. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

The finely wavy structure of these clouds is easy to see in images from Curio City’s black-and-white navigation cameras. But what literally really shines is the color image from Rover’s mast camera or mast cam. When viewed immediately after sunset, the ice crystals catch the fading light and appear to shine against the dark sky. These twilight clouds, also known as “noctilucent clouds” (Latin for “noctilucent clouds”), brighten when filled with crystals and darken when the sun’s sky is below altitude. This is just one of the useful clues scientists use to determine their height.

The Curio City Navigation Camera finds twilight clouds on the Sol 3072. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Even better is the iridescent cloud, the “pearl mother” cloud. “If you see a cloud with a set of sparkling pastel colors, it’s because all the cloud particles are about the same size,” said Mark Lemon, an atmospheric scientist at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Boulder, Colorado. Stated. “This usually happens shortly after clouds form and all grow at the same rate.”

He added that these clouds are one of the most colorful on the red planet.If you were looking at the sky next to your curiosity, you could see the colors Naked eyeAlthough it will be faint.

“I am amazed at the colors that always appear: red, green, blue and purple,” Lemon said. “It’s really cool to see something that shines in many colors on Mars.”

See the clouds on Mars scoop up, thanks to NASA’s curiosity

Provided by
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Quote: Curiosity Rover, obtained from on May 28, 2021 (May 28, 2021) ) Capture the glowing clouds

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