NASA’s Curiosity rover captures sun rays on Mars for the first time ever

Mar 8, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

NASA’s Curiosity rover captures sun rays on Mars for the first time ever

Mar 8, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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sun rays on Mars

After over a decade of exploration, NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured sun rays on Mars for the very first time. In a gorgeous image released a few days ago, we can see the so-called crepuscular rays shining through clouds in the sunset.

While sunsets can be seen from Mars, and they’re quite moody, this was the first time sun rays have been so clearly viewed on the Red Planet. And they create a scene that’s way more similar to a sunset here on Earth when we have some clouds in the sky.

[Related reading: NASA’S Curiosity rover captures rare Earth-like clouds on Mars]

Curiosity took the photo on February 2, 2023, the 3,730th Martian day (sol) of the mission as a part of the rover’s newest twilight cloud survey. This survey builds on Curiosity’s 2021 observations of noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds. However, unlike the 2021 cloud survey, the latest one relies more often on the rover’s color Mast Camera, or Mastcam. The previous one used relied more on Curiosity’s black-and-white navigation cameras.

NASA explains that clouds in this image are made of carbon dioxide ice, a.k.a dry ice. And how can we know that? “While most Martian clouds hover no more than 37 miles (60 kilometers) above the ground and are composed of water ice, the clouds in the latest images appear to be at a higher altitude, where it’s especially cold,” NASA explains. This is how scientists can conclude what clouds are composed of.

sun rays on Mars curiosity rover
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

In addition to the image of sun rays, Curiosity captured a set of colorful clouds feather-like clouds on January 27. “When illuminated by sunlight, certain types of clouds can create a rainbowlike display called iridescence,” NASA explains. Both photos above are panoramas stitched together from 28 images each before the rover sent them to Earth.

sun rays on Mars cloud
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

[via SciTech Daily]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “NASA’s Curiosity rover captures sun rays on Mars for the first time ever”

  1. Lloyd Grace Avatar
    Lloyd Grace

    Duh. The photo was taken in Utah. 🤪