NASA's Mars Rover Shares Eerily Beautiful GIF Of Martian Dawn

hero perserveance image drifting clouds
NASA's Perseverance rover captured a fantastically eerie video of drifting clouds just before sunset on the Red Planet. The series of images were collected by one of the Martian rover's navigation cameras on March 18, 2023, the 738th Martian day.

Since Perseverance made its landing on Mars, scientists and researchers have been combing through the plethora of data it has been sending back to Earth. Part of that research has been studying the formation process of Martian clouds.

nasa image tweet drifting clouds

Since Mars has an atmosphere, the scene captured in the images looks familiar to those seen on Earth. NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Twitter account posted, "Dusty and cold, sure - but Mars has a certain, raw beauty."

The clouds on Mars are very similar to those here on Earth, but thinner. Due to the low temperatures on the Red Planet, its atmosphere only allows for water-ice clouds to form. These types of clouds are optically thin, due to the low amounts of water present in Mars' atmosphere. If all the water were on the surface of the planet, it would equate to a layer thinner than a single strand of hair.

perseverance image of drifiting clouds mars

By studying clouds, scientists are gaining a better understanding of how the water cycle works on Mars today. They are looking at how water vapor is transported by atmospheric circulation and how temperatures and water abundances vary with height. Also, by observing the motion of clouds, researchers can also glean new information about wind speeds and directions high in the atmosphere.

The Perseverance rover is currently located in Jezero crater, where scientists are using it to seek out any possible signs of ancient life. Jezero crater is a prime candidate in the search for past life on Mars, being it was once a lake where microbial life may have once existed in the moist soil and clay at the bottoms of lakes.