Stunning Video of Clouds on Mars

Here is a color-enhanced video of moving clouds passing over NASA’s Mars Lander. I took a 10 image sequence recently captured by NASA, and stitched it into a one-minute movie.

The camera took these 10 frames over a 10-minute period from 2:52 p.m. to 3:02 p.m. local solar time at the Phoenix site during Sol 94 (Aug. 29), the 94th Martian day since landing.

Particles of water-ice make up these clouds, like ice-crystal cirrus clouds on Earth. Ice hazes have been common at the Phoenix site in recent days.

The camera took these images as part of a campaign by the Phoenix team to see clouds and track winds. The view is toward slightly west of due south, so the clouds are moving westward or west-northwestward.

The clouds are a dramatic visualization of the Martian water cycle. The water vapor comes off the north pole during the peak of summer. The northern-Mars summer has just passed its peak water-vapor abundance at the Phoenix site. The atmospheric water is available to form into clouds, fog and frost, such as the lander has been observing recently.

The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University

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~ by aspoeth on September 1, 2008.

4 Responses to “Stunning Video of Clouds on Mars”

  1. Pretty nice. I saw the original rendering, but it’s even better in (false-)color.

    By the way, did you hear that NASA’s next rover to Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory, will record actual video footage from the planet? Forget about little, false-time, 10 frame clips of clouds. The MSL is going to send back hours of friggin’ high-definition (HD) real-time video as the rover conducts test around the Martian surface. This is possible because the recording and storage is done in a separate system, as to not take processing resources from the experiments it’s filming. And as if that weren’t enough, the camera is going to be on during atmospheric descent…

  2. Absolutely stunning. What music is that?

  3. Thanks for the comment.
    I’ve often wondered why NASA hadn’t recorded actual video footage. Great to hear that they’ve got it planned for the next flight.
    On a slightly related note, have you heard of Immersive Media Corp.? http://immersivemedia.com/ Their product allows you to create immersive videos which allow the user to have control of the camera angle.

  4. The sound track is the first movement of Mozart’s Requiem as performed by the Oldenburg Chamber Choir.

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