Whereas the northern hemisphere of Earth experiences the winter solstice this week, there are additionally snowy winter scenes to be discovered on Mars. With common temperatures round minus 80 levels Fahrenheit and dropping as little as minus 220 levels Fahrenheit, Mars is a cold place usually, and is especially so across the poles and in the course of the winter. NASA just lately shared a number of images of Mars taken from orbit which present the winter climate to be discovered on our neighboring planet.

Climate on Mars is kind of totally different from that on Earth as a result of its environment is so skinny. At simply 1% of the density of Earth’s environment, the largest climate occasions should not rainstorms however mud storms, as mud is whipped up from the floor into giant storms which may cowl the complete planet. Nonetheless, there’s occasional snow on Mars, and it is available in two types: water ice snow, like we have now on Earth, and carbon dioxide or dry ice snow which types as a result of it’s so chilly.

“Sufficient falls that you would snowshoe throughout it,” stated Sylvain Piqueux, a Mars scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a statement. “In case you had been on the lookout for snowboarding, although, you’d have to enter a crater or cliffside, the place snow might construct up on a sloped floor.”

This image acquired on July 22, 2022 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows sand dunes moving across the landscape. Winter frost covers the colder, north-facing half of each dune. This image acquired on May 6, 2021 by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows a unique polar dune field during northern spring, revealing some interesting patterns. HiRISE captured these “megadunes,” also called barchans. Carbon dioxide frost and ice have formed over the dunes during the winter; as this starts to sublimate during spring, the darker-colored dune sand is revealed.
HiRISE captured these “megadunes,” additionally referred to as barchans. Carbon dioxide frost and ice have fashioned over the dunes in the course of the winter; as this begins to sublimate throughout spring, the darker-colored dune sand is revealed. NASA/JPL-Caltech/College of Arizona

This picture, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE instrument, exhibits dry ice forming frost over sand dunes within the martian winter. A enjoyable truth about dry ice snowflakes is that in contrast to water ice snowflakes which at all times have six sides, the carbon dioxide snowflakes could be a distinct form.

“As a result of carbon dioxide ice has a symmetry of 4, we all know dry-ice snowflakes could be cube-shaped,” Piqueux stated. “Because of the Mars Local weather Sounder, we will inform these snowflakes could be smaller than the width of a human hair.”

The HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured these images of sand dunes covered by frost just after winter solstice. The frost here is a mixture of carbon dioxide (dry) ice and water ice and will disappear in a few months when spring arrives.
The HiRISE digital camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured these pictures of sand dunes coated by frost simply after winter solstice. The frost here’s a combination of carbon dioxide (dry) ice and water ice and can disappear in just a few months when spring arrives. NASA/JPL-Caltech/College of Arizona

The Mars Local weather Sounder is one other of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s devices, which appears within the infrared wavelength to look via clouds and see particulars concerning the martian local weather.

Along with orbiters, we’re additionally studying about martian climate utilizing devices on the bottom, such because the Perseverance rover’s MEDA suite which may measure wind pace and path, stress, and temperature from its location within the Jezero Crater.

You may see much more pictures of winter on Mars by heading over to NASA JPL’s website.

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