It might look like a postcard from Arizona, but this photo shows something even more bizarre: the planet MarsAs seen by the NASA Rover Curiosity.
The photo is a combination of 21 photos of a vehicle recently taken from studying a strange kind of soft cloud over his Gale Crater home. Scientists on Earth realized two years ago that more clouds formed earlier in the Martian year than they had expected. So in March this year Curiosity When he looked at the early clouds, he was not disappointed. The clouds actually appeared in late January, when the robotic sky watch began to document the thin, ice-rich clouds that sometimes scatter sunlight into color screens.
“I’m always amazed at the colors that appear: red, green, blue, and purple,” Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist at the Space Science Institute in Colorado, He said in a NASA statement. “It’s really cool to see something bright with a lot of color on Mars.”
Related: NASA’s Curiosity probe takes a selfie of Mars on Mount Merko (photo)
Strangely, these clouds appear to be higher Mars atmosphere Those are the clouds that scientists usually see on the planet, according to NASA. Normally, when a Curiosity cloud passes, the structures are filled with water ice and float 60 kilometers above the surface of Mars.
Clouds in the new Curiosity images are higher in the atmosphere, although NASA has not specified their altitude. The distinction may reflect different formulations, withdrawals from frozen or carbon dioxide Dry iceHowever, the agency said the scientists did not yet trust this statement.
Clouds are at their best just after sunset, when the last light causes the ice crystals to glow, which is why scientists call them nocturnal or clear at night. (A curiosity can watch these visible nocturnal clouds through black and white navigation cameras and color mast camera.)
Lemon said that some of these clouds appear slightly iridescent when cloud particles are of the same size, which is usually the case when clouds formed and grew at the same rate.
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