FP TrendingMar 23, 2021 16:07:26 IST
A car-sized rover that landed on Mars on 6 August 2012, better known as the Curiosity rover, has captured stunning footage of clouds passing over the Martian surface. Shot by cameras attached to the top of Curiosity, the five-minute-clip shows clouds above the surface of Mars. The footage was captured on 19 March 2021 and has been shared by North Carolina State University’s scientist Dr Paul Byrne.
According to a report in the Independent, five minutes of time has been captured by the navigation camera on Curiosity in eight separate visuals that have been stitched together. The “noctilucent” clouds on Mars in the video can be lit up by the sun even during the night because of how high up they are above the surface.
Clouds in the sky, gently passing overhead.
On Mars, Friday, March 19, 2021. pic.twitter.com/jJpemPefIV
— Prof. Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) March 20, 2021
The clouds seen in the video appear to be moving similarly to those on Earth. But the report mentions that due to the vast difference in atmospheres of the two planets, the clouds must have formed in different ways. The atmosphere of Mars is thinner than Earth’s. While the atmosphere enveloping our home plant is rich in nitrogen and oxygen, the atmosphere of Mars is rich in carbon dioxide, European Space Agency stated.
Snow was detected on the surface by the Phoenix lander in 2008, according to the Independent. But unlike on Earth, snow on Mars is formed by carbon dioxide. The thin atmosphere of Mars causes light clouds to form above the surface, while the clouds on Earth are mostly thick. The dust formed when space debris hits the atmosphere of the planet is also believed to be responsible for cloud formation.
The Red Planet, considered an ‘alternative’ world that human beings may inhabit in the future, is half the size of Earth.