Help Wanted to Sift Through Martian Clouds

Image (Credit): Hubble space telescope image of the icy blue clouds swirling over the Martian mountain Syrtis Major (far right). (NASA Goddard)

NASA is looking for assistance to answer a few questions about Martian clouds:

  1. What causes the atmosphere to get cold enough for carbon-dioxide to freeze out?
  2. How do clouds change from day to night, or during different seasons, or in some years more than others?
  3. What are the clouds made of?

You can help by searching through data acquired by the Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) collected during Mars Year 29, which was from December 2007 to October 2009. Using an entire Martian year of identified clouds will allow NASA to determine how mesospheric clouds change during different seasons on Mars, and assist with future machine-learning algorithms for other years’ worth of data.

Visit the Cloudspotting on Mars website to learn more about how you can help. It’s a fun way to be part of the scientific community as it gains a greater understanding of the one planet in the solar system we hope to visit in person in the near future.