NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured amazing images of clouds on Mars

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NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured amazing images of clouds on Mars

Shining, iridescent, noctilucent clouds as seen from the surface of the Red Planet.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured these clouds just after sunset on March 19th, the 3,063rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission.

The image is made up of 21 individual images stitched together and color corrected so that the scene appears as it would to the human eye.

NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured images of clouds on Mars— as described in its blog post:

“wispy puffs filled with ice crystals that scattered light from the setting sun, some of them shimmering with color.”

According to NASA clouds are rare in the thin atmosphere of Mars, but usually form at its equator during its coldest time of year.

Scientists noticed that last year — two years ago in Earth time— there were clouds beginning to form earlier than expected, so this year they were ready.

The images are not only stunning, they’ve provided new insights to the Curiosity team at NASA.

The early clouds are at higher altitudes than most Martian clouds— which typically hover about 37 miles above the planet’s surface and are made up of water ice.

The higher-altitude clouds are likely made of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice, NASA says.

Curiosity provided both black-and-white and color images— the black-and-white photos show the rippled details of the clouds more clearly.

Curiosity took these images of clouds on Mars just after sunset on March 31st.

But it’s the color photos taken from the rover’s mast camera and stitched together from multiple images that are really breathtaking.

Also read: China’s newly landed Mars rover Zhurong likely to roll into action this weekend.

NASA describes them:

Viewed just after sunset, their ice crystals catch the fading light, causing them to appear to glow against the darkening sky.

These twilight clouds, also known as “noctilucent” (Latin for “night shining”) clouds, grow brighter as they fill with crystals, then darken after the Sun’s position in the sky drops below their altitude.

This is just one useful clue scientists use to determine how high they are.

Curiosity also captured images of iridescent “mother of pearl” clouds, with pastel colors throughout.

Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado said in NASA’s post that those colors come from cloud particles nearly identical in size.

“That’s usually happening just after the clouds have formed and have all grown at the same rate,” he explained.

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

Lemmon said he marvels at the colors that show up in these clouds; reds and greens and blues and purples.

“It’s really cool to see something shining with lots of color on Mars.”

 

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SOURCEThe Verge
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Citizen Atare is a Ghanaian who hails from the Upper East Region. He is an ICT professional working at the University of Ghana, Legon. Citizen Atare is an amateur freelance writer and blogger for over 20 years, who likes to research into everyday lifestyle issues and situations, politics, and cultural practices to write about to educate and also entertain his readers. He is a highly creative and motivated, highly inquisitive, open minded and to an extent risk-taking with a high visual acumen. He is a dreamer who isn’t afraid to break creative barriers. He is also a passionate aviation, tech and motoring enthusiast with a lot of knowledge to share and a private researcher. He has no formal education or certificate in journalism, but the hunger to know more and do more, backed by an impressive work portfolio is what drives him to write the things he knows best for his numerous online fans. His hobbies include reading, listening to very good music; especially jazz, writing, watching action, sci-fi and adventure movies, travel and site seeing and swiming. He likes eating fufu and palm nut soup, but prefers boiled rice and kontomire stew with agushie more. Contact me at: pnawurah@gmail.com

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