NASA’s Curiosity rover has photographed glowing clouds on Mars. This is reported by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
As noted, cloudy weather is rare on Mars and occurs, as a rule, at the equator during the coldest time of the year, when the red planet is farthest from the Sun. But two years ago, scientists noticed that clouds were forming over Curiosity earlier than expected.
This year, NASA began to study such “early” clouds, which began to appear in late January. Curiosity was able to capture images of thin clouds filled with ice crystals that scattered the light of the setting sun.
Here is a compiled six-frame photo of drifting clouds over Mount Sharp. It was taken on March 19, 2021 (on the 3063 Martian day or the salt of the mission).
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And this is how the clouds looked after sunset on Mars on March 31 (3075 sol). They were filmed with navigation cameras on the Curiosity mast.
These are the clouds after sunset on March 28 (3072 sol).
And here are the nacreous clouds taken on March 5 (3048 sol). The image is compiled from five frames taken by the MastCam device.
NASA believes that these glowing clouds soar higher than most others on Mars (60 km above the surface). It’s very cold at this altitude, probably the Curiosite shot is composed of frozen carbon dioxide or dry ice.
Scientists are now trying to establish the height of the clouds, but more detailed analysis will be required to accurately name their composition, captured by Curiosity, added to JPL.