Curiosity Views Feather-Shaped Iridescent Cloud
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover captured this feather-shaped iridescent cloud just after sunset on Jan. 27, 2023, the 3,724th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Studying the colors in iridescent clouds tells scientists something about particle size within the clouds and how they grow over time.
These clouds were captured as part of a follow-on imaging campaign to study noctilucent, or "night-shining" clouds, which started in 2021. While most Martian clouds hover no more than 37 miles (60 kilometers) above the ground and are composed of water ice, these clouds appear to be higher in elevation, where it's very cold. That suggests these clouds are made of carbon dioxide, or dry ice.
This scene made up of 28 individual images captured by the rover's Mast Camera, or Mastcam. The images have been processed to emphasize the highlights.
Curiosity was built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California. JPL leads the mission on behalf of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego built and operates Mastcam.