May 30, 2019 - Science

Clouds on Mars are similar to those on Earth


Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images

One of the things that makes Mars loom large in our imaginations is just how Earth-like the planet is. For example, Mars has clouds that at least look like those seen on Earth.

Details: According to NASA, the clouds can be found about 19 miles high and are likely composed of water ice, making them similar in concept at least to cirrus clouds here on Earth, though those are typically found at about 6 miles up.

Also, Earth's atmosphere is far more hospitable compared to Mars.

The air on Mars is thinner than Earth's, containing mere traces of oxygen and an abundance of carbon dioxide.

The big picture: NASA researchers are trying to gain new insights into Mars' clouds by coordinating pictures between the navigation cameras on Curiosity and NASA's InSight lander, which is about 370 miles away on the red planet's surface. "Capturing the same clouds from two vantage points can help scientists calculate their altitude," NASA said.

Go deeper