NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sees Weaving Colors in the Martian Atmosphere


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Like Navajo weavers, scientists use whatever tints they want to create a finished product. Here, brilliant hues show light in the Martian atmosphere that is invisible to humans. The different colors of light, called infrared light, indicate temperature, dust, and ice from the surface up to 50 miles high.

In the first picture, in orange and red, Martian storms have kicked up dust. The dust has warmed the atmosphere (stripes A1, A2, A3). Stripe A5 shows the amount and height of dust; A6 shows day and night.

In the second picture, stripe A4 shows clouds of water ice in green and light blue. A dark blue zone indicates extreme winter cold at the south pole (A1). The atmosphere is dust-free (A5).

Like Navajo blankets in the "eyedazzler" tradition, the pictures are captivating. Over time, they tell a story of changes on Mars from season to season and year to year.

Mars Climate Sounder, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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