NASA is being generous with its latest discoveries on the Red Planet. Their Curiosity Rover captures amazing images on Mars' surface, including a few shining clouds. More details, pictures, and even an interactive experience with the Curiosity Rover are also available online!
For years now, exploration attempts and studies on the neighboring Red Planet have been ongoing. On November 26, 2011, NASA's largest and greatest rover called Curiosity was sent to Mars for a Science Laboratory mission. The rover wanted to answer the question, "Did Mars ever have the right environmental conditions to support small life forms called microbes?"
Equipped with only the best technology, Curiosity acquired rock, soil, and air samples for analysis. It also began its exploration on the Martian surface, testing the climate and geology. Most recently, it sends back a few awesome pictures of its discovery!
NASA Mars Curiosity Rover: Latest Photos, Mission Update and More
JPL reported that about two years ago, scientists noticed clouds forming over the Curiosity rover. So they started documenting this phenomenon with some close-up images. The analysis revealed that the wispy puffs were filled with ice crystals that scattered light from the Sun, creating a shimmering effect. This gives scientists a clue how clouds are differently formed on the Mars surface.
A new discovery also noted that early-arrival clouds on the Martian atmosphere hover no more than 37 miles and are composed of water ice. Currently, there are two types of clouds discovered on the planet, featuring water-ice clouds and dry-ice clouds.
The Curiosity rover scored a jackpot with its spectacular image capture on a phenomenon with the clouds a little after sunset. The ice crystals caught the fading light, giving them an extra glow on the darkening skies. Labeled as "Mother of Pearl" clouds, the image shows many clouds in a thin line, nearly identical in size and shimmering with a pastel set color.
An atmospheric scientist from Space Science Institute named Mark Lemmon analyzed these photos and said that the clouds are one of the more colorful things on the Red Planet. "I always marvel at the colors that show up: reds and greens and blues and purples," Lemmon said. "It's really cool to see something shining with lots of color on Mars."
NASA Mars Curiosity Rover Tracker
Want to see more of the Curiosity Rover images yourself? Check out some photos on Mars landscape, soils, and even a selfie with the Curiosity Rover itself.
You could also take an interactive experience with the Curiosity rover, analyzing a 3D model of it while learning a few interesting facts about its exploration.
You can see raw images of mars (taken from a bunch of different cameras), watch videos and animations, and even get a hands-on experience with an interactive panoramic shot of Mars.
All of this is available and free online!
Head to this website to learn more and start your own exploration on Mars.
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