Curiosity rover might be obsessed with rocks and geology at ground level, but it also takes time to see what's happening in the Martian sky. This week, NASA released a pair of GIFs to show us back on Earth what the clouds look like drifting across Mars.
While the first GIF shows a view that includes the Martian landscape, a second movie shows the clouds moving directly above Curiosity. Together, they tell a story. "Scientists can calculate how fast the clouds are moving -- and how high they are in the sky -- by comparing the two perspectives," NASA said.
The images come from the rover's navigation camera on Dec. 12, 2021. The clouds were far away from Curiosity, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) above the red planet's surface. "It's extremely cold at that height, which suggests these clouds are composed of carbon dioxide ice as opposed to water ice clouds, which are typically found at lower altitude," NASA said.
Mars is a very different place from Earth, but images like these show some of the haunting similarities between the two planets. I can relate to that feeling of wild wonder when a particularly striking cloud decorates the sky.