Massive clouds erupted 260km into Martian atmosphere – and no one knows why

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-massive-clouds-erupted-260km-martian.html

Something big has disturbed the red planet’s thin atmosphere. Credit: NASA

Something big has disturbed the red planet’s thin atmosphere. Credit: NASA

Enormous cloud-like plumes reaching 260km above the surface of Mars have left scientists baffled. This is way beyond Mars’s normal weather, reaching into the exosphere where the atmosphere merges with interplanetary space. None of the conventional explanations for such clouds make sense – neither water or carbon dioxide ice nor dust storms nor auroral light emissions usually hit such heights. These “mystery clouds” came as a surprise, in particular when considering they were first spotted by a string of amateur astronomers in 2012. After all, an international fleet of five orbiters and two rovers is currently operating on and around Mars, and one may be excused thinking the red planet has little left to hide and its exploration has become routine. Read Full Article

ALSO: Astronomers spot clouds on Mars: Is the U.S. Government terraforming the red planet?



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