‘Colorful Clouds’ Found by NASA’s Mars Rover on the Red Planet

Even though it’s more than 10 years of age NASA’s Curiosity Rover is still providing breathtaking images and insightful information on the terrain of the Red Planet. One example: the Curiosity rover which is a workhorse recently captured some of the most crystal clear images of sunrays on Mars to date.

The photos were taken at sunset over Mars on February. 2 and show the sun’s rays, known as crepuscular, shooting through clouds in an impressive manner. In addition to being stunning visually, the image also is a result of research into Martian cloud formation and provides scientists a better understanding of the weather patterns of Earth’s closest neighbor.

'Colorful Clouds' Found by NASA's Mars Rover on the Red Planet


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The photos were taken in the course of NASA’s twilight cloud study which started in January and runs until the middle of March. Twilight clouds, which are also referred to as noctilucent, or “night shining” in Latin shine brightly against the darkening sky at sunset. This is because they’re composed of ice crystals. They only begin to darken when the sun is below their altitude. This assists scientists on Earth find their exact position in the sky.

The clouds in the photo are higher in altitude than the majority of Martian clouds. As per the agency’s report, this implies that they’re comprised of dry ice (yes that’s the substance that you put into your drinks to create a smoky atmosphere) because of how cold the atmosphere of the planet is. Clouds aren’t common in the dry and thin Martian atmosphere. They tend to develop during the coldest months of the year, when the planet is farthest away from the sun. This is the reason they’re mostly composed of frozen crystals of ice.

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“Where we see iridescence, it means a cloud’s particle sizes are identical to their neighbors in each part of the cloud,” Mark Lemmon is an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado and NASA, declared in an announcement. “By studying color shifts we can see the size of particles alter across clouds. This is a clue to how the cloud is changing and the way its particles change size with time.”

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When Curiosity took photos in black-and-white of similar clouds into 2021. NASA employed the Rover’s Color Mastcam to collect the most recent photos. It’s a good thing they did as we’ve now seen some amazing eye candy that is out of this world for their efforts.

Sunil Kumar writes about smartphones and laptops for Gadgets360TechNews, out of Delhi. He is the Deputy Editor (Reviews) at Gadgets360TechNews. He has frequently written about the smartphone and PC industry and also has an interest in photography.

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