Latest Climate of Mars Stories
By MARC KAUFMAN By Marc Kaufman The Washington Post WASHINGTON Icy snow falls from high in the Martian atmosphere and may even reach the planet's surface, scientists working with NASA's Phoenix Mars lander reported Monday.
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds. Spacecraft soil experiments also have provided evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water, processes that occur on Earth.
Scientists are now able to better explain why Marsâ€™s residual southern ice cap is misplaced, thanks to data from ESAâ€™s Mars Express spacecraft - the martian weather system is to blame. And so is the largest impact crater on Mars â€“ even though it is nowhere near the south pole.
By Alicia Chang LOS ANGELES - The apparent discovery of ice near Mars' north pole has scientists asking: Did the frozen water melt at some point in the planet's long history to create an environment friendly for life? The Phoenix spacecraft exposed bright white crumbs at the bottom of a trench while digging near Mars' north pole earlier this week.
Even in the clearest, bluest sky on Earth, there is still water vapor in our atmosphere. If you could condense all the water vapor out of the atmosphere above you, it would form a layer of water two centimeters deep. On Mars today, there is also water vapor in the atmosphere but it would create a layer just 10 micrometers thick.
Until now, Mars has generally been regarded as a desert world, where a visiting astronaut would be surprised to see clouds scudding across the orange sky. However, new results show that the arid planet possesses high-level clouds that are sufficiently dense to cast a shadow on the surface.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this close-up of the red planet Mars when it was just 55 million miles â€“ 88 million kilometers â€“ away.
SAN FRANCISCO—NASA scientists have discov
This summer, Mars suffered a titanic dust storm that engulfed the entire planet. The dust storm contributed to a temporary warming effect around Mars, which raised the temperature of the atmosphere by around 20-30Â°C.
Mars, like Earth, is a climate-fickle water planet. The main difference, of course, is that water on the frigid Red Planet is rarely liquid, preferring to spend almost all of its time traveling the world as a gas or churning up the surface as ice.
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