NASA Mars Lander Sees Falling Snow

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.

A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars has detected snow from clouds about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) above the spacecraft’s landing site. Data show the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground.

“Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars,” said Jim Whiteway, of York University, Toronto, lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. “We’ll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground.”

Image courtesy of JPL – a simulation of what an ice age on Mars could look like

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~ by aspoeth on October 24, 2008.

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