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Sci-Tech

See wispy clouds drift across the sky on Mars

Step into the Curiosity rover's wheels for a moment and admire the shifting clouds of Mars with this NASA animation.

NASA's Curiosity rover captured this sequence of moving clouds.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/York University

If you've ever paused to gaze up at the sky just to watch the clouds, then you have something in common with NASA's Mars Curiosity rover. On July 17, the rover captured a series of images showing clouds moving across the Martian sky and the result is haunting. NASA enhanced and accelerated the sequence of images and released the animations on Thursday. 

The images represent Curiosity's best look yet at clouds on Mars.

 "It is likely that the clouds are composed of crystals of water ice that condense out onto dust grains where it is cold in the atmosphere," said John Moores, a member of the Curiosity science team. He describes the wispy cloud patterns as "fall streaks" or "mare's tails," which also form on Earth at high altitudes.

The rover just recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of its August 2012 landing on Mars. NASA shared another fascinating animation of the sands shifting under the Curiosity rover earlier in 2017. Between the two, we have both the ground and the sky of Mars covered.