Perseverance Rover Captures Ominous Sign of Mars’ Impending Cloudy Season

Eerie cloud cover on Mars as seen by Perseverance's navcam.

The sky is a hazy shadow of – er, summer – on Mars, as captured in a new image from NASA Endurance Rover.

Mars has four seasons, like the earth, but they are a bit different than what we experience on our wet, life-filled planet. A Martian year has 687 Earth days made up of 668 Martian sols, so its seasons are longer. You are too more contradictory than with us: In the MArtic Northern Hemisphere, Spring lasts 194 days during fall lasts only 142 days. The atmosphere of Mars is fair 1% the density of Earth and the entire planet are much colder and dustier.

Around themartic summer solstice (which will happen At July 12 this year), spaceship orbiting Mars has observed a lot of cloud cover in the past northern hemisphere. Now the Perseverance rover sees evidence of these clouds from the Ground, as seen in a recent photo taken by the rover’s left navigation camera, or Navicam.

Normally the navigation camera does just that: IIt explores the Martian landscape so the rover doesn’t take false steps (or kicks) in occasionally treacherous spots Terrain. But it also looks up every now and then to give NASA scientists and the public something to study and appreciate.

In the most recent image, taken on January 29, or the mission’s Sol 691, a Martian sunrise looms behind diffuse cloud cover. The clouds are very thin due to the low water content in the Martian atmosphere; according to a NASA publicationif all the atmospheric water on Mars were on the planet’s surface, it would form a layer thinner than a strand of human hair.

The clouds are not a threat to Perseverance – the main problem facing Mars landing craft is Martian dust sticking to their solar panels, preventing them from charging– but they do a nice case study for the rover’s instrumentation.

Perseverance’s primary purpose is not cloudspotting. The rover landed on Mars on February 18, 2020 to better understand the geological history of Mars look for possible signs of old life. To this end, the rover collects rock samples from the planet, which NASA intends to recover shortly ambitious mission planned for the early 2030s. The Rover completed its sample depot on Mars earlier this week.

BAside from its suite of tools for probing the Martian soil, the rover has a few instruments for understanding the The atmosphere. The Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer monitors clouds and how they form scatter and block the solar radiation that arrives on the planet’s surface.

More: Perseverance Rover imagery reveals ancient history of water-soaked crater on Mars Perseverance Rover Captures Ominous Sign of Mars’ Impending Cloudy Season

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