NASA’s Curiosity Rover Shows Us the Cloudy, Colorful Days on Mars


Gif: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Clouds are rare on Mars and usually appear only during the coldest time of the year near the planet’s equator. However, a Martian year ago, NASA noticed some clouds forming in the sky above the veteran Curiosity rover and is determined to document them next year. In recent months, Curiosity started to work, taking some weird photos showing us what the cloudy days are like on the Red Planet and broadening our understanding of how far away the clouds are.

NASA refers to unexpected clouds as simply “early” clouds today. on a notice, NASA says the Curiosity team has already made a new discovery about early clouds from rover photos: They are at much higher altitudes than usual. Those who are not cloud experts-guilty, even to defend my mind the clouds are very coolit may not appear that this is very important at first glance, but it’s actually a significant difference that lets us know what the clouds do.

As NASA explains, most of the clouds on Mars are typically at an altitude of 37 miles (60 kilometers) in the sky and are composed of ice water. However, these so -called early clouds are at a high and cold altitude, meaning they are made of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice. NASA did not specify how high the clouds were in Curiosity’s photos.

“Scientists are looking for subtle clues to establish the height of a cloud, and it will require further analysis to determine which of the past Curiosity images show water ice clouds and where dry ice is displayed, ”the agency said in a news release.

In addition to getting new information on so-called early clouds, NASA has also witnessed some truly beautiful clouds on Mars: large clouds and non-violent clouds.

Using its mast navigation cameras, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took images of the clouds after sunset on March 31, 2021, the 3,075th sol, or Martian day, of the mission.
Gif: NASA / JPL-Caltech

In the photos above, taken by Curiosity’s Black and white navigation camera, We can see good, digging structures in the clouds. Known as useless clouds, which in Latin for “night shining,” or twilight clouds, these clouds are brighter as they are filled with crystals, then dark after the position of the Sun in the sky. falling below their height, ”according to NASA. Scientists use this information about the Sun’s position to calculate the height of unused clouds.

You can really feel the amazing beauty of these clouds in the photos at the bottom, made as if there were waves in the Martian sky.

Using its mast navigation cameras, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took images of the clouds after sunset on March 28, 2021, the 3,072nd sol, or Martian day, of the mission.
Gif: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Curiosity not only gives us a glimpse into useless clouds, though.. The rover, through photos taken by its MastCam, we also showed that the clouds on Mars can radiate color. These are called iridescent clouds, or “mother of pearl” clouds, and some of the more colorful objects you’ll see on Mars.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover spotted these iridescent, or “mother of pearl,” clouds on March 5, 2021, the 3,048th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover spotted these iridescent, or “mother of pearl,” clouds on March 5, 2021, the 3,048th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
picture: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

“If you can see a cloud with a bright pastel color in it, that’s because the cloud particles are almost the same size,” said Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist at the Space Science Institute at Boulder, Colorado, at NASA’s announcement. . “That usually happens after the clouds form and grow at the same rate.”

Cloud photographs of curiosity offer us a whole new perspective on Mars. By the time our rovers and helicopters sent us interesting photos of the planet’s rocky surface, Curiosity showed us that the planet could be more colorful than we thought. It is too another reminder that NASA’s veteran rover, now covered by the dazzling new Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter, may be old, but it still carries strange science.



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