Bill DunfordJan 20, 2014

New Views of Martian Weather

We have some new images from the Mars Express orbiter, added to the collection just last week. As always, they're beautiful. This time, I noticed something of a pattern in the latest shots: lots of weather. Mars may or may not have ever been a home to living creatures, but it's not a dead world. Here are some pictures as proof.

Clouds Over Arabia
Clouds Over Arabia The Mars Express orbiter views a cloudy day over unnamed craters at the border of the Acidalia Plains and the highlands of Arabia Terra. ESA / G. Neukum (Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany) / Bill Dunford

Mars experiences many kinds of weather, but these views of drifting or hovering clouds just feel so Earth-like.

Cloudy Crater
Cloudy Crater Moreux crater in the Protonilus Mensae region of Mars fills with clouds in this recent Mars Express image. North is to the right; color is approximate. ESA / G. Neukum (Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany) / Bill Dunford

That said, it's a very thin and cold wind that blows on Mars.

Weather in Tantalus Fossae
Weather in Tantalus Fossae Mars Express spied this view of the Tantalus Fossae region just north of Alba Patera. ESA / G. Neukum (Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany)

But the fact that we can observe the weather day in and day out, not just on one world, but several—there's a sign we're living in an amazing future.

Clouds on the Horizon
Clouds on the Horizon A recent view from the Mars Express spacecraft: the planet's limb on a cloudy day. The contrast in the thin atmosphere has been boosted. ESA / G. Neukum (Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Germany) / Bill Dunford

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