June 2, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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The first image of sunlight on Mars


The Curiosity rover has succeeded for the first time in taking a picture of sunlight on Mars, according to the US space agency NASA. The image, taken during sunset on February 2, could teach scientists more about the weather on the Red Planet.

mtmsource: NASA

“Mars sunsets are moody,” the space agency wrote in a press release. However, our Curiosity managed to catch one last month. As the sun dipped below the horizon on February 2, rays of light illuminated a swath of clouds. It’s the first time these rays of sunshine – also called aurora rays – have been clearly visible on Mars. “.

Curiosity has been active on Mars since 2012 and has been looking specifically for noctilucent clouds since 2021. “While most Martian clouds hover no higher than 60 kilometers above the Earth’s surface and consist of water ice, in this image the clouds appear to hang higher, in A particularly cold place. These clouds are composed of dry ice, which is the solid form of carbon dioxide,” she notes.

Clouds provide complex but important information for understanding weather just as they do on Earth, NASA said. “By observing where and when clouds form, scientists can learn more about the composition and temperature of the Martian atmosphere and the winds in it.”

What we see here is not actually a single image, but 28 individual images that have been grouped into a single image. The image has also been modified to highlight the rays more, according to NASA.

In addition to sunlight, Curiosity captured a series of colorful feather clouds on January 27. “When illuminated by sunlight, certain types of clouds can create a rainbow-like appearance, a phenomenon called iridescence.”


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