Changing seasons in Mars’ northern hemisphere brings a change in the weather, and the clouds have rolled in to cover part of the polar surface in this intriguing image from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.
Mars Odyssey’s THEMIS visual imager (VIS) captured this image on Jan. 24, 2012, as it passed over the Red Planet’s northern pole during one of its 2-hour-long orbits.
Clouds on Mars have been seen before, both from orbit and from the surface. They are made up of fine water ice particles and are usually at altitudes of 10 to 15 km high. Read more about Martian weather here.
The full THEMIS scan of the area is below.
The area imaged is about 21 km wide by 73 km high (13 x 45 miles).
Image credit: NASA / JPL / Arizona State University. Hat-tip to Mr. Bill Dunford at Riding With Robots (@ridingrobots).