NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured “sunlight” on Mars for the first time, according to the agency He says.
NASA said the footage was taken on February 6 and showed the phenomenon as the sun set on the planet. NASA said this is the first time that sunlight, also known as auroral rays, has been seen so clearly.
NASA shared a glimpse of what the probe picked up Twitter account. The image shows a gray sky over a black, rocky landscape, with patches of red and green light visible.
The moment was captured when the rover conducted a survey of the aurora cloud, based on previous observations of the clouds. Previously recorded images of Martian clouds show that they are made of water ice and hover no more than 37 miles above the surface of Mars. New images taken by Curiosity show the clouds at “a higher altitude, where it’s particularly cold,” NASA said, indicating that the clouds are composed of carbon dioxide ice, or dry ice.
Another image shows an “iris-shaped feather cloud,” NASA said. This image, taken just after sunset on January 27, helps provide scientists with information about particle sizes within the clouds.
NASA said both images were taken as two panoramic images “each pieced together from 28 images sent back to Earth.” The agency said the photos were “processed to emphasize highlights.”
Curiosity’s previous cloud survey, conducted in 2021, used black-and-white navigation cameras to get a detailed look at the structure of moving clouds, but the newer survey, which began in January, uses the rover’s color camera to see how the cloud particles are moving. NASA said the growth is over time. The current survey will end in mid-March.
“As on Earth, clouds provide scientists with complex but important information for understanding weather. By looking at when and where clouds form, scientists can learn more about the composition of the Martian atmosphere and the temperatures and winds within,” NASA said.
Curiosity was launched in 2011 and landed on Mars in August 2012. According to NASAThe rover’s primary mission is to determine if Mars could support tiny life forms known as microbes. In the past, Curiosity has found evidence of habitable environments in the past on Mars, and it has I found carbonan “essential component of life” on this planet.
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