It looks like Mars might be experiencing some cloudy days. That is a surprise for the rather bare, cold, and dry planet as scientists may have found smoky clouds around Mars.
A research team led by a student at the University of Colorado in America, Victoria Hartwick noticed a mysterious cloud in the middle of Mars’ atmosphere. It was 30 kilometres above the ground level.
Hartwick said, “Clouds don’t just form on their own. They need something that they can condense on to.” Speculations are that the meteoric smoke is icy dust that forms when space rocks fly into the Moon’s atmosphere.
It was explained that many tons of space debris crash into Mars daily. When the meteors blast apart, the dust forms into what looks like clouds.
Dust particles on Earth can act as seeds that water vapour condenses around to form clouds. These scientists believe that a similar phenomenon is happening on Mars.
They have now run computer simulations of the planet’s atmosphere. The researchers discovered that the clouds appeared in the simulations when they included meteors in the calculations.
Peeking into the clouds in Mars can help scientists tell more about its atmosphere. Most especially how it interacts with its climate. They can also give clues on if it’s getting warmer or wetter.
This finding was published in the Journal of Natural Geoscience on Monday, 17th June 2019.