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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies 5nvklj





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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies

Dragon
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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies Empty Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies

Post by Dragon Sat May 29, 2021 5:46 am

In March 2021, NASA’s Curiosity rover observed clouds made of carbon dioxide (CO2) ice at high altitudes in the atmosphere of Mars.

Clouds are typically found at the equator of Mars in the coldest time of year, when the planet is the farthest from the Sun in its oval-shaped orbit.

But two Earth years ago, the Curiosity team members spotted clouds in the Martian atmosphere earlier than expected.

This year, they were ready to start documenting these early clouds from the moment they first appeared in January.

What resulted are images of wispy puffs filled with ice crystals that scattered light from the setting Sun, some of them shimmering with color.


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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Sat May 29, 2021 5:47 am

Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies Image_9708_1-Mars-Clouds
Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS.

Curiosity captured these clouds just after sunset on March 19, 2021, 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


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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Sat May 29, 2021 5:48 am

Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies Image_9708_2-Mars-Clouds
. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS.

This animated image shows clouds drifting over Mount Sharp on Mars, as viewed by Curiosity on March 19, 2021.

Each frame of the scene was stitched together from six individual images.


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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Sat May 29, 2021 5:50 am



Martian dust storms can kick up fine particles in the atmosphere around which clouds can form.

Dust storms are most common during perihelion, when the planet receives 40 percent more sunlight than during aphelion.

During aphelion water ice clouds form in the atmosphere, interacting with the dust particles and affecting the temperature of the Red Planet.


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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Sat May 29, 2021 5:51 am



The dust is swept aloft to altitudes of tens of kilometers, where it spreads globally, absorbs light from the Sun, and heats the entire atmosphere by about another 15°-28°C.


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Curiosity Spots Carbon Dioxide-Ice Clouds in Martian Skies 334pu7m

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