The Curiosity probe of the US Space Agency took rare images of clouds that appeared in the Martian sky Friday, May 28, 2021 that may help scientists understand the composition and nature of the various clouds on the Red Planet. </p><div> <p>"Cloudy days are rare here because the atmosphere is very thin and dry, but I kept my cameras ready and wanted to share some recent photos with you," the agency said on its Twitter account, quoting the probe.</p> <div id="em-WBMZ96422-MCD-AR-20210531" class="m-em-flash"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sometimes you just need to stop and watch the clouds roll by... on Mars.
Cloudy days are rare here because the atmosphere is so thin and dry, but I’ve been keeping my cameras peeled and wanted to share some recent pictures with you. https://t.co/Gtgz9Iu822 (1/4) pic.twitter.com/iJOLmnXMVo
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) May 28, 2021
</span> </figcaption> </div> <p>In its press release, NASA explained that the clouds of Mars generally move at the level of the planet's equator at this time of the year when the weather is cold and when Mars is far from the sun.
Two years earlier, clouds over Curiosity’s rover, orbiting in Mars’ Gale Crater, were observed to form earlier than scientists had expected.
The space agency describes the clouds captured by the probe as “brittle puffs filled with ice crystals that reflect sunlight.” These images are useful in helping scientists understand how clouds form on Mars and determine why they look different from Earth’s clouds.
Because the clouds imaged by the probe move up, where they are colder, the scientists suspect that they are made of frozen carbon dioxide or dry ice. However, it is still difficult to distinguish in the probe images between water ice clouds and dry ice clouds.
In particular, NASA said, there are two types of clouds that Curiosity has captured. Nocturnal clouds very high in the atmosphere are likely composed of dry ice and crystals that capture the fading sunlight at sunset, making them shine, and clouds with lighter shades when the particles in the cloud are nearly the same size.
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