Mars: the stunning colorful clouds

Mars: the stunning colorful clouds documented by the Curiosity rover

Stunning colorful clouds

NASA managed to document clouds just after sunset on Mars; the scientific explanation of why they look different colors

The rover Curiosity of NASA has documented clouds just after sunset on Mars, which in color photos captured by the Mast Camera (or ” Mastcam “), are bright and colorful, with shades of pink, blue and blue. NASA reported last Friday this update of the rover that has been investigating the planet since 2012.

Why are the clouds colorful? 

It turns out that the clouds on Mars are usually 60 kilometers above the surface and are made of water ice. But these colorful clouds are higher up, where it is much colder, which indicates that they are probably made of frozen carbon dioxide, in a solid-state, that is, what we usually call ” dry ice .”

These ice crystals, just after sunset, reflect the sunlight and generate that variety of colors that you can see in the photo.

Stunning colorful clouds
This phenomenon of Mars occurs because of how the sun hits the crystal of the cloudsNASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

 As reported by NASA, cloudy days are rare in the thin, dry atmosphere of Mars. In general, clouds are seen in the coldest times of the year, when the red planet is far from the sun. But two years ago, they found clouds forming earlier than usual.

So this year, they prepared in advance (since January) to document these “early” clouds. There they also discovered that they are higher than those that appear later, and because of how the sun hits their ice crystals, the colorful landscape is formed.

Mars rover
NASA’s Curiosity rover

Curiosity landed on August 6, 2012, at the base of Gale Crater. Since then it has traveled just over 25 kilometers to the slope of Mount Sharp, a rise in the center of the crater that contains sedimentary material.

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