Discover the Fascinating Cloud Patterns on Mars Unveiled by Citizen Scientists

A team of citizen scientists working with NASA have made an exciting discovery on Mars. They have meticulously mapped the clouds on the Red Planet, uncovering interesting patterns of cloud clustering and behavior.

While NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers explore Mars at ground level, the citizen scientists in the Cloudspotting on Mars project have taken on a more ambitious mission. Using data collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), they have created detailed cloud maps of the Martian atmosphere.

To gather this information, the citizen scientists relied on the Mars Climate Sounder, an instrument on the MRO that measures temperature, humidity, and dust content in Mars’ atmosphere in visible and infrared light. By analyzing these “slices” of data, they were able to predict the climate and weather patterns on Mars.

The cloud maps generated by the citizen scientists show the timings and locations of the identified clouds on Mars. This information is crucial for understanding the planet’s weather and climate, as clouds play a significant role in regulating the temperature of the atmosphere. Interestingly, Mars can have icy clouds in its mesosphere, which is located between 18.6 and 31 miles above the surface. These clouds consist of water vapor and even “dry ice” made of carbon dioxide.

The citizen scientists’ cloud maps reveal populations of carbon dioxide ice clouds in high altitudes, as well as clouds near the poles and water-ice clouds. The water-ice clouds are believed to form during specific dusty seasons on Mars, when warmer temperatures and strong winds create dust devils, lifting water molecules into the atmosphere and preventing them from falling back as rain or snow. This behavior might explain why Mars lost much of its water in the past, resulting in its current arid landscape.

The structure of the clouds discovered by the citizen scientists follows large-scale temperature oscillations known as thermal tides. The team also observed that clouds were more common in the colder regions of the Martian atmosphere.

“Thank you to all the Cloudspotting on Mars participants for driving this research forward!” said project principal investigator Marek Slipski from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

If you’re interested in joining the search for clouds on Mars, you can participate in the Cloudspotting on Mars project. Alternatively, NASA offers other citizen science projects on their website.

The findings of this research will be published in a special edition of the journal Icarus, titled “MRO: 16 Years at Mars.”


Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
DMCA compliant image

Leave a Comment