Despite being more than a decade old, NASA’s Curiosity rover continues to provide stunning images and insights from the Red Planet’s surface. Key point: The horse-drawn rover recently captured some of the clearest images of the Martian solar rays.
The photo was taken as the sun set on Mars on February 2 and shows the sun’s beam of light, known as creeping rays, breaking through the clouds in dramatic ways. In addition to the beautiful pictures This image was also built on research into cloud formation on Mars. and gives scientists insight into the climate patterns of Earth’s neighbors.
These images were taken as part of NASA’s Twilight Cloud Survey, which began in January and runs through mid-March. Twilight clouds, also called noctilucent or “nightlight” in Latin, shine brightly against the dark sky during sunset. That’s because they’re made of ice crystals. And it will be completely dark when the sun is down. This process really helps scientists on Earth determine their precise heights in the sky.
The clouds in the image are higher than most Martian clouds. According to the agency That means they’re likely made from dry ice (yes, the same thing they put in your cocktail to make it smoke) as Earth’s atmosphere cools. Clouds are relatively rare in the thin, dry Martian atmosphere. They tend to form during the coldest time of the year when the Earth is furthest from the sun. Which is why most of them are made of ice crystals.
Curiosity also took pictures. “Colourful clouds” in the shape of feathers on Jan. 27, according to a NASA blog post. Scattered colors occur after clouds are illuminated by sunlight in a phenomenon called rainbow colors. This gives researchers a better understanding of the particles that make up real clouds.
Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and NASA, said: This means that the cloud particle size is the same as that of the neighboring particles in each part of the cloud.” We can see the change in particle size across the entire cloud. That tells us about how the cloud is evolving and how its particles change in size over time.”
While Curiosity took similar black-and-white images of clouds in 2021, NASA used the rover’s color Mastcam to get these latest images. It’s a good thing they did too since we now have great eye candy for their problems.