Mesmerizing rover footage captures rare sight of swirling clouds above Mars

NASA has released video of thick, swirling clouds that formed high above March and were captured by the Curiosity rover.

The videos were taken in December 2021 as the device took a break from collecting rock and soil samples from the surface of the red planet.

Martian clouds are relatively rare due to the planet’s thin atmosphere, and these have a distinct chemical composition.

NASA's Curiosity rover captured these images of clouds in the sky of Mars, on December 12, 2021.
NASA’s Curiosity rover captured these images of clouds in the sky of Mars, on December 12, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“These clouds are very high, nearly 80 kilometers above the surface,” NASA wrote in a blog post.

“It’s extremely cold at that height, which suggests these clouds are composed of carbon dioxide ice as opposed to water ice clouds, which are typically found at lower altitude.”

The space agency explained special imaging techniques were needed to see the clouds, as they’re faint in the atmosphere.

It's believed the clouds captured above Mars are composed of carbon dioxide ice.
It’s believed the clouds captured above Mars are composed of carbon dioxide ice. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
“Multiple images are taken to be able to get a clear, static background.

“These images show the clouds as they were seen drifting directly above Curiosity.

NASA's Curiosity rover has been on a nearly decade-long mission to determine if Mars was ever habitable for living organisms.
NASA’s Curiosity rover has been on a nearly decade-long mission to determine if Mars was ever habitable for living organisms. (PA)

The clouds were seen on December 12, 2021, the 3325th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Curiosity’s mission is to determine whether the Red Planet ever was habitable to microbial life.

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