It is a unique phenomenon in the solar system. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), studying the red planet from orbit, has discovered that Mars snows dry ice-frozen carbon dioxide. He has confirmed the U.S. space agency (NASA).
The presence of frozen carbon dioxide in the south polar cap of the planet already knew. In addition, the mission of the NASA Phoenix Lander in 2008 had observed the fall of water-ice in the Martian north.
However, this new study has achieved more concrete information about temperatures, sizes and other particle concentrations. Thus, it has been possible to identify a cloud of carbon dioxide of 500 kilometers in diameter, where the particles are large enough to fall to the ground.
Lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research ', Paul Hayne, has indicated that "these are the first definitive detection of clouds of carbon dioxide snow" and thanks to the new data it has been shown that "are thick enough to give rise to an accumulation of snow. "
This information has been obtained by the Mars Climate Sounder instrument of MRO. The data sent by the instrument and were analyzed by seven scientists who recorded the brightness of nine wavebands of visible and infrared light to examine particles and gases that exist in the Martian atmosphere.
Experts have pointed out that the south pole of Mars is the only place where the frozen carbon dioxide on the surface persists throughout the year. Dry ice requires, in atmospheric conditions of Mars, -125 º C to reach the solid. On Earth it is closer to 78 ° C.
"These results are reminiscent of what scientists that although the red planet is similar to Earth in reality is very different," he concluded Hayne.
I have some photos taken by Curiosity in recent days ....
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