NASA’s Perseverance rover could be on the market on Mars since 2021, collecting rock samples and finding hints of water, however that does not imply its predecessor has already retired from its explorations. In reality, the Curiosity rover has been observing Martian clouds throughout twilight to construct upon its previous survey on night-shining clouds. And on February 2nd, Curiosity captured a rare sight on digicam, making it the primary time we have seen crepuscular rays (or “solar rays”) this clearly from the Martian floor.
The clouds within the picture above are positioned at the next altitude than most Martian clouds, which sit round 37 miles above the bottom and are made from water ice. For the reason that clouds within the picture are larger up the place it is particularly chilly, NASA thinks they’re made from frozen carbon dioxide — or dry ice, as we name it — as a substitute. They company says that observing clouds on Mars can assist scientists be taught extra concerning the planet’s atmospheric situations, temperatures and winds.
For this specific survey, which began in January and can conclude mid-March, Curiosity largely makes use of its coloured Mast Digicam or Mastcam. The tools permits the rover to take pictures that may present scientists how cloud particles glow over time. To create the panorama you see above, NASA stitched collectively 28 pictures taken by the Mastcam. In 2021, although, Curiosity largely relied on its black-and-white navigation cameras that offered us an in depth take a look at clouds’ construction as they transfer.
Along with our first clear view of the Martian solar rays, the rover has additionally taken images of different attention-grabbing cloud formations because the present survey started. One picture from January twenty seventh (beneath) exhibits an iridescent cloud that is formed like a feather. Apparently, the colour transitions caused by iridescence inform scientists how the cloud is evolving and about how its particle measurement is altering throughout the construction.