NASA Perseverance rover camera captures stunning clouds on Mars
Perseverance rover has added yet another feather to its cap by capturing stunning drifting clouds on Mars.
NASA's Perseverance rover has been on a Mars exploratory mission for the last two years. Since its landing in February 2021, the Martian rover has not only captured breathtaking snapshots of the barren planet, but has also discovered the stunning structures and formations on the red planet. The Perseverance Rover has been collecting rock samples, analyzing the terrain, and hunting for evidence of previous microbial life on Mars. Now, the rover has made another stunning discovery by capturing drifting clouds in the Martian sky.
The image was released by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory yesterday and it was captured by one of the navigation cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. The stunning clouds were captured just before sunrise on March 18, 2023, the 738th Martian day of the Mars mission. The Martian clouds are made of dry ice condensed on reddish dust particles suspended in the atmosphere, according to NASA.
To study these carbon dioxide-based clouds, NASA launched its citizen science project called Cloudspotting on Mars. By understanding the formation and the appearance of these clouds, scientists hope to better understand the structure of Mars' atmosphere.
NASA Sample Return Program
NASA's Mars Sample Return is a series of missions to retrieve scientific samples of Mars collected by the Perseverance rover. One of the most ambitious space missions ever planned, the Mars Sample Return mission would allow scientists to study those samples using state-of-the-art technology here on Earth. Most of the samples would be rock; however, researchers also want to examine regolith – broken rock and dust – not only because of what it can teach us about geological processes and the environment on Mars.
A Sample Retrieval Lander would launch to Mars in 2028, carrying with it a NASA-led Mars rocket and a pair of small Mars helicopters which would land close to Perseverance's landing location in the Jezero Crater. The journey from Mars to Earth is long enough as it is and NASA is doing everything possible to make sure that the scientific samples from Mars reach Earth safely.
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