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Watch Martian Clouds Fly Over The Surface Of The Red Planet

Now that's a view.

11/08/2017 14:39 | Updated 6 days ago

Mars might have the reputation of being a barren dust-filled planet but the reality is actually very different.

There is, in fact, weather on Mars, and impressive weather at that.

Now for the first time, NASA’s Curiosity rover has managed to capture some of that weather in the form of clouds, gently streaking overhead.

It’s grainy, in black and white but even through all the noise it’s an astonishing piece of footage.

With an atmosphere that’s almost 95% carbon dioxide, Mars’ clouds are nothing like our own.

“It is likely that the clouds are composed of crystals of water ice that condense out onto dust grains where it is cold in the atmosphere,” explains Curiosity science-team member John Moores of York University, Toronto, Canada.

“The wisps are created as those crystals fall and evaporate in patterns known as ‘fall streaks’ or ‘mare’s tails.’ While the rover does not have a way to ascertain the altitude of these clouds, on Earth such clouds form at high altitude.”

Mars’ elliptical orbit means that its distance from the Sun varies much more than our own.

As a result of this clouds are only really seen around the equator and when Mars is at its furthest point from the Sun.

These images from Curiosity were actually taken two full months before Mars was at its furthest point, suggesting that their appearance was early for the season.

In addition to clouds, Mars also has been known to produce some pretty impressive dust devils from time to time.

NASA

This incredible image taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a huge example of a dust devil snaking up from the Martian surface.

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