NASA’s InSight spotted clouds on Mars. But when will it rain on Red Planet?

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 10 May 2019, 10:44 AM
Rain on Mars: The dust storms probably absorbed heat and warmed up the atmosphere and made it impossible for the planet to form ice clouds (File Photo)
Rain on Mars: The dust storms probably absorbed heat and warmed up the atmosphere and made it impossible for the planet to form ice clouds (File Photo)

NASA’s Mars Insight lander had sent back photo of Elysium Planitia showing some drifting clouds at sunset on April 25. This is a significant development as possibility of Life on Mars is a subject of significant interest due to its similarities to Earth. NASA, SpaceX and countries like China are all in the race to start a colony on the Red Planet in the next decade. The clouds on the photo are most likely water ice and are likened to ice fogs on Earth that don’t exactly precipitate. The Red Planet’s thin and freezing atmosphere often keep the clouds from ever falling on Mars, keeping the planet cold and dry, according to CNET.

"This precipitation most likely takes the form of frost. The ground is likely to be colder than the air (especially on cold clear nights), and so air hitting the ground cools and the water freezes to the ground as frost. Viking II (a Mars lander in the 1970s) saw frost on the ground some mornings," NASA said in a statement.

The dust storms probably absorbed heat and warmed up the atmosphere and made it impossible for the planet to form ice clouds. 

“Many people have analysed the nature of rainfall on the Earth, but no one had thought to apply the physics to understanding the early Martian atmosphere,” according to geologist Robert Craddock.

First Published: Thursday, May 09, 2019 12:50 PM
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