Seen shortly after local Martian sunrise, clouds gather in the summit pit, or caldera, of Pavonis Mons, a giant volcano on Mars, in this image from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.
The clouds are mostly made of ice crystals. They appear blue in the image because the cloud particles scatter blue light more strongly than other colors.
Pavonis Mons stands about nine miles (14 kilometers) high, and the caldera spans about 29 miles (47 kilometers) wide. This image was made by THEMIS through three of its visual-light filters plus a near-infrared filter, and it is approximately true in color.
THEMIS and other instruments on Mars Odyssey have been studying Mars from orbit since 2001.
Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) was developed by Arizona State University, Tempe, in collaboration with Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing. The THEMIS investigation is led by Dr. Philip Christensen at Arizona State University. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the Odyssey project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.