Today’s Martian Weather: Partly Cloudy


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.

Martian polar clouds as seen by THEMIS

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). 

7 Replies to “Today’s Martian Weather: Partly Cloudy”

    1. Those are ice crystals though 😛

      We already know of ice on Mars (both in the atmosphere, on the surface and under the surface) but the holy grail of Mars exploration is finding existing liquid water… which’ll probably turn out to be deep under the surface in briny dirt, if anywhere.

  1. i also thought we couldn’t zoom that much in.. but now that it’s cloudy we can.. hey wait a minute.. two days ago the CME would take away air from the planet because it has no atmosphere.. NASA quote..
    No atmosphere and clouds? ummm.. 2+2 = 8.43?

    we don’t know sh*t about f*ck my man!! (RobinWilliams)

    1. THEMIS’s visible camera has a maximum resolution of just 18 metres (that image has a resolution of 20 metres per pixel)…. pretty incredible 😀

      I’m not sure what you mean about the CME – the solar wind (even during a solar storm) is continuously stripping the atmosphere from Mars but it’s an incredibly slow process, and there’s still plenty left over for clouds to form.

      1. I believe the only point he made successfully was that he doesnt know sh*t about f*ck…

        And he provided the evidence to back that up.

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