Read the Beforeitsnews.com story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Universe Today (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Now:
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:
Total:

Many Clouds on Mars are Driven by Dust, not Water

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


One of the benefits of having a cluster of satellites orbiting another planet is that scientists can then analyze that planet’s weather. Sometimes in that process, they find patterns that are strikingly similar to those found on our home planet. That was the case recently when a group of scientists from ESA used data from Mars Express to analyze cloud formation on Mars. To no one’s surprise, dust seemed to be at the core of that formation. But the resultant clouds looked very much like those found here on Earth – in the tropics. 

The paper, recently published in Icarus, utilized data from two of Mar Express’ cameras: the Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) and the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), and another camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. All of those cameras were focused on one particular event – the formation of clouds surrounding the Martian North Pole during its springtime.

Cloud formation is common in that location at that time of year, but this is the first time so much data-collecting power has been turned toward it. In particular, two notable dust storms formed during the springtime of 2019, when the data for the paper was collected. That data included actual photographs that showed something familiar to storm watchers on Earth – spiral patterns.

A hurricane-like spiral storm on Mars.
A hurricane-like spiral storm on Mars.
Credit – ESA / DLR / FU Berlin

One of the most distinct pictures from the HRSC images shows a spiral pattern that seemed very similar to a hurricane (or cyclones as they are called in some parts of the world) on Earth. They reach between 1000 and 2000 km in size and are thought to be caused by similar patterns to those that form hurricanes here. 

Similarities between Earth and Martian clouds don’t stop there. Some of Earth’s more picturesque cloud formations involve a “texturing” pattern that makes them look like sand. A similar pattern happens on Mars, and “textured” clouds can be seen in some of the images Mars Express sent back.

These textures are formed by a convection pattern where, on Earth, air containing water is heated by the Sun, causing it to rise, and eventually, the water condenses to form clouds. On Mars, however, water is not so readily available, so the Sun heats the dust-laden air, causing it to rise similarly and then fall into gaps between the pockets of hot air containing the dust. This overall “closed-cell convection” causes the textured pattern seen in the image.

Mars’ atmosphere has been gone for some time – could we bring it back?

Mars and Earth aren’t the only places this phenomenon occurs, though. Venus also has closed-cell convection, as evidenced by data collected by Mars Express’ sister craft – Venus Express. Since Venus also lacks significant water and has a much thicker atmosphere than either Earth or Mars, it seems the fundamental processes that cause these cloud formations don’t care much about that part of the environment, at least.

Finding similar patterns elsewhere in the solar system is both comforting and enlightening. Using those similarities to help predict Martian weather, especially for future crewed missions, is one way that long-standing missions such as Mars Express can continue to help contribute to humanity’s long-term exploration of space.

Learn More:
ESA – Martian dust storms churn up Earth-like clouds
Sánchez-Lavega et al. – Cellular patterns and dry convection in textured dust storms at the edge of Mars North Polar Cap
UT – Martian Clouds Might Start with Meteor Trails Through the Atmosphere
UT – Every Spring a Single Cloud Forms at one of Mars’ Tallest Mountains and Only Lasts for a few Hours

Lead Image:
Image of a dust storm on Mars.
Credit – ESA / GCP / UPV / EHU Bilbao

The post Many Clouds on Mars are Driven by Dust, not Water appeared first on Universe Today.


Source: https://www.universetoday.com/158813/many-clouds-on-mars-are-driven-by-dust-not-water/


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!


Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://mitocopper.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomic.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomics.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST


Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation.

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)

Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!

Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video).

Report abuse

    Comments

    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    MOST RECENT
    Load more ...

    SignUp

    Login

    Newsletter

    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.