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.

| Updated on: Mar 24 2023, 18:33 IST
Top NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Andromeda Galaxy, Crab Nebula and more
Drifting clouds
1/5 M1 Crab Nebula (March 20) - Today’s NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is the Messier 1, which was first discovered by Chinese astronomers in 1054. Also known as the Crab Nebula, it is located about 6500 light-years away towards the constellation of Taurus and spans about 10 light-years across. The Crab Nebula is now also known to be a supernova remnant, which are the remnants left behind after a supernova explosion. (NASA/Detlef Hartmann)
Drifting clouds
2/5 Dark Nebulae and the Taurus Molecular Cloud (March 21) - is a fascinating snapshot of the dark nebulae and the star formation in the Taurus Molecular Cloud (TMC). Located about 400 light-years away, TMC is one of the closest molecular clouds to our solar system. The Taurus Molecular Cloud is also home to Hind's Variable Nebula (NGC 1555) about 650 light-years away as well as the star T Tauri. (NASA/Vikas Chander)
Drifting clouds
3/5 The Andromeda Galaxy (March 22) - Today’s NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is the Andromeda Galaxy. According to NASA, the Andromeda Galaxy is twice the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy, spanning across nearly 260,000 light-years and containing over 1 trillion stars. (NASA/Abdullah Al-Harbi)
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4/5 Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841 (March 23) - It is the Spiral Galaxy, also known as NGC 2841. It is an unbarred spiral galaxy located about 46 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major, which is also known as the Great Bear. According to NASA, NGC 2841 has a relatively low star formation rate as of now, in comparison to other spirals that are alight with emission nebulae. (NASA/Roberto Marinoni)
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5/5 Comet ZTF and the stars of Milky Way (March 24) - It is a picture of Comet ZTF fading away in the sky. According to NASA, it is now 13.3 light-minutes away from Earth and will go on its way before it makes another approach with Earth 50000 years into the future. The comet can be seen alongside stars of the Milky Way Galaxy towards the constellation Eridanus. (NASA/Rolando Ligustri)
Drifting clouds
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Drifting clouds were captured by one of the navigation cameras on the Perseverance rover. (NASA JPL/Perseverence Rover)

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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First Published Date: 24 Mar, 17:46 IST