NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Strange Shimmering Iridescent Clouds on Mars

Curiosity Spots Clouds Over Mont Mercou

Curiosity Spots Clouds Over Mont Mercou: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured these clouds just after sunset on March 19, 2021, the 3,063rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission. The image is made up of 21 individual images stitched together and color-corrected so that the scene appears as it would to the human eye. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The science team is studying the clouds, which arrived earlier and formed higher than expected, to learn more about the Red Planet.

In the thin, dry atmosphere of Mars, cloudy days are pretty rare. Clouds are typically found at the planet’s equator in the coldest time of year, when Mars is the farthest from the Sun in its oval-shaped orbit. But one full Martian year ago – two Earth years – scientists noticed clouds forming over NASA’s Curiosity rover earlier than expected.

Curiosity Drifting Clouds Over Mount Sharp

Curiosity GIF Shows Drifting Clouds Over Mount Sharp: This GIF shows clouds drifting over Mount Sharp on Mars, as viewed by NASA’s Curiosity rover on March 19, 2021, the 3,063rd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Each frame of the scene was stitched together from six individual images. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This year, they were ready to start documenting these “early” clouds from the moment they first appeared in late January. What resulted are images of wispy puffs filled with ice crystals that scattered light from the setting Sun, some of them shimmering with color. More than just spectacular displays, such images help scientists understand how clouds form on Mars and why these recent ones are different.

In fact, Curiosity’s team has already made one new discovery: The early-arrival clouds are actually at higher altitudes than is typical. Most Martian clouds hover no more than about 37 miles (60 kilometers) in the sky and are composed of water ice. But the clouds Curiosity has imaged are at a higher altitude, where it’s very cold, indicating that they are likely made of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice. Scientists look for subtle clues to establish a cloud’s altitude, and it will take more analysis to say for sure which of Curiosity’s recent images show water-ice clouds and which show dry-ice ones.

Curiosity Navigation Cameras Spot Twilight Clouds on Sol 3075

Curiosity Navigation Cameras Spot Twilight Clouds on Sol 3075: Using the navigation cameras on its mast, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took these images of clouds just after sunset on March 31, 2021, the 3,075th sol, or Martian day, of the mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The fine, rippling structures of these clouds are easier to see with images from Curiosity’s black-and-white navigation cameras. But it’s the color images from the rover’s Mast Camera, or Mastcam, that really shine – literally. Viewed just after sunset, their ice crystals catch the fading light, causing them to appear to glow against the darkening sky. These twilight clouds, also known as “noctilucent” (Latin for “night shining”) clouds, grow brighter as they fill with crystals, then darken after the Sun’s position in the sky drops below their altitude. This is just one useful clue scientists use to determine how high they are.

Curiosity Navigation Cameras Spot Twilight Clouds on Sol 3072

Curiosity Navigation Cameras Spot Twilight Clouds on Sol 3072: Using the navigation cameras on its mast, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took these images of clouds just after sunset on March 28, 2021, the 3,072nd sol, or Martian day, of the mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Even more stunning are iridescent, or “mother of pearl” clouds. “If you see a cloud with a shimmery pastel set of colors in it, that’s because the cloud particles are all nearly identical in size,” said Mark Lemmon, an atmospheric scientist with the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “That’s usually happening just after the clouds have formed and have all grown at the same rate.”

Curiosity Spots Iridescent Clouds Crop

Curiosity Spots Iridescent (Mother of Pearl) Clouds: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover spotted these iridescent, or “mother of pearl,” clouds on March 5, 2021, the 3,048th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Seen here are five frames stitched together from a much wider panorama taken by the rover’s Mast Camera, or Mastcam. (This image is just a small segment. Click to see the full, very wide panorama.) Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

These clouds are among the more colorful things on the Red Planet, he added. If you were sky-gazing next to Curiosity, you could see the colors with the naked eye, although they’d be faint.

“I always marvel at the colors that show up: reds and greens and blues and purples,” Lemmon said. “It’s really cool to see something shining with lots of color on Mars.”

83 Comments on "NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Strange Shimmering Iridescent Clouds on Mars"

  1. Will it affect on earth’s weather also?

    Loner Soul

    • That is a picture of Earths weather…lmbo Space monkeys gone wild

      • FanOfNaturalSelection | May 29, 2021 at 2:41 pm | Reply


  2. Space monkeys believe anything

    • Why do you find it difficult to believe this? These are spectacular images.

      • FanOfNaturalSelection | May 29, 2021 at 2:45 pm | Reply

        Because he’s an idiotic troll the type that volunteers for Trump and argue the world is flat so they can feel like they are smart despite their lack of understanding of science or being able to comprehend basic s***. This attitude is what happens when dumb people aren’t weeded out by natural selection as the world continues to get safer for those who would of likely drowned trying to fight their own reflection in a puddle of water 50-100 years ago.

  3. Missouri astronomer | May 29, 2021 at 10:35 am | Reply

    For those making comments about this being fake: We have seen clouds on Mars way before we ever landed a rover there. I have seen them through my 12inch reflector telescope, and I’ve seen the entire red planet become a dust storm. Don’t believe me? Goto a star party or go buy a good telescope and look yourself. It’s not magic, it’s science and it’s easy to do.

  4. Mann how’d you know I thought I touched it up more than enough

  5. I am now not a believer. I have a picture of the drone on “MARS”…. Let’s just say I doubt there is a camera on the ground off to the right of the drone. Nice try NASA! Purely pissed.

    • FanOfNaturalSelection | May 29, 2021 at 2:46 pm | Reply

      Hollie you sound like you need a proper education.

    • You realize there is a Rover with it’s own cameras that can see the drone and take pictures of it right? It must hurt to be so dumb.

  6. Wow dry ice clouds that’s wild

  7. I like to half ass skim these articles while I smoke weed. They’re great!

  8. Thomas Morosco | May 29, 2021 at 12:27 pm | Reply


  9. Thomas Morosco | May 29, 2021 at 12:29 pm | Reply

    They should send. All the people in the white house up thier without suits

  10. Thomas Morosco | May 29, 2021 at 12:30 pm | Reply

    Nobody. Believe anything you say anymore all fake stuff

    • FanOfNaturalSelection | May 29, 2021 at 2:48 pm | Reply

      You. Sound dumber than Trump and I’m sure you believe the pathological liar but can’t accept reality. Sad. Hope you don’t repoduce, I personally like our species and you pass on your genes is no good for it.

  11. Obviously Earth clouds over Greenland islands. NASA IS A JOKE!

    • FanOfNaturalSelection | May 29, 2021 at 2:49 pm | Reply

      You’re a joke lmfao tell me does it hurt being as stupid as you are?

      • Just some guy | June 4, 2021 at 4:08 pm | Reply

        Your garbage with all your insults towards people for questioning things. I bet you you always talking about how big your junk is too aren’t you? Whatever makes your simple mind feel good I guess. Having said all that I do believe the pictures are from Mars,but I have no problem with people who don’t.

  12. A uh, SPACE MONKEY (apparently) | May 29, 2021 at 2:52 pm | Reply

    Holy sh*t, how desperate, sad, and small people like these commenters are. Your ‘god’ is also too small. Before you decide to actively drag down the evolution of our species by clinging to it like a mother’s dress, kicking and screaming as she takes you to school so you can grow, mature, and expand your knowledge – do yourself and everyone else a favor. Take a trip to a museum. Take a trip to a space center. Take a trip to watch a rocket launch. Or buy a microscope, a telescope, or build a model rocket with a go pro, or something. Eventually you will come to understand that the ego/human centrism and paranoia is a disease. Your brains are filled with metaphorical worms, and as a part of a larger whole, you yourselves are the lingering decay and foetor of a tumor mankind has struggled to excise (for a reason) over the past 2/300 years. Wake up; you’re using internet, gps, laser, quantum, relativity, interferometry, medicine, transport, computational technology that people of your nature only hinder or serve to cripple. Go live in a cave if you want to be alone with your psychological, sociopathic, selective understanding and delusional knowledge. The rest of us should continue to progress beautifully.

    Also, GET OFF THE SCIENCE NEWS WEBSITE and focus on something you love and are passionate about, instead of wasting your time and our resources to support you just so you can complain, change nothing, and kick and scream like the immature, malignant warts you all are – intentionally, brainwashed, or otherwise.

  13. Is that a space monkey cloud

  14. JY you’re an idiot lol

  15. Oh no! Man made global warming on Mars is already happening. We better hurry up and come up with a tax to save Mars.

  16. Mars looks a lot like earth.

    • Sure does, not sure why you would expect something different, I would expect pretty much any solid planet to look roughly like earth in most ways, I’d guess Venus and Mercury look pretty much like this as well.

  17. Do I see Glinda in her bubble floating this way?!?!

  18. What?

  19. I once saw 2 dogs humping in the woods while hiking

  20. BRYAN WADE AKINS | May 29, 2021 at 8:28 pm | Reply

    I notice from time to time they say ooo theirs evidence of life might have been on Mars. Quit wasting money on somewhere ,where were not gonna live and use the money to clean up our planet where we have everything we need and we don’t need a space suit that cost millions ,God gave us everything we need we will never run out of resources, all we need to do is use the money wisely and redirect the government. I could go on but I am not not going to waste my time

      You’re comment makes no sense. It is a well known fact that one day in the distant future the sun will expand and it’s solar winds will blow away the earths atmosphere and may consume the earth. Along with who knows what disaster awaits but the point is the earth will not be here forever so it’s nieve to say otherwise so don’t you think we need to be proactive now instead of waiting until the last minute?

      • He said something that hasn’t happened yet Is a well known fact lol. I believe in science but people lose me when when consensus becomes fact.a shared opinion means nothing. A theroy is a guess nothing more.

  21. Clouds=Precipitation

  22. denny flagler | May 30, 2021 at 2:02 am | Reply

    im ready for my close up mr coppola.

  23. Every single person who speculates whether space exploration is real is a Trumpanzee. I wish you would all move to Florida to be close to your alpha, and continue to toss feces at each other. At least until Cy Vance throws that dipsh*t in prison.

  24. Richard Aponte | May 30, 2021 at 5:03 am | Reply

    I’m With Dreya..

  25. Why is that anytime people have a disagreement about what they believe about ANYTHING does it always have to end up becoming a political ranting about Trump or liberals? What happened to the days when we respected each other’s right to believe & feel as they so chose to do? What happened to agree to disagree & leave it at that? Debate, talk & discuss whatever topics with someone you want; but please, for goodness sake, do it in a respectful, polite manner. Even if the other person isn’t. Be the bigger person instead of having a childish competition to see who can have the better insults to hurl at one another. Contribute to making this world a better place instead of a worse one. It starts with one person deciding to be civil instead of trying to be a bigger jerk than the person they’re conversing with at that time.

    • @AkJenn
      You are 100% right and it’s because it’s an easy way to dismiss some one with out having to have a smart reply to argue their point. Weak smal minded people

    • @AkJenn
      You are 100% right and it’s because it’s an easy way to dismiss some one with out having to have a smart reply to argue their point. Weak smal minded people

  26. kevin kearns | May 30, 2021 at 8:33 am | Reply

    Those who think it’s fake must be Russian or Evangelicals. Spend some time with a pilot for frick sake! I do agree to a degree with a comment about how it would be nice to see such efforts and money spent without question on our own planet.

  27. Those are cloud’s somewhere on Earth don’t believe the lie’s.

    You’re comment makes no sinse. It is a well known fact that one day in the distant future the sun will expand and it’s solar winds will blow away the earths atmosphere and may consume the earth. Along with who knows what disaster awaits but the point is the earth will not be here forever so it’s nieve to say otherwise so don’t you think we need to be proactive now until waiting until the last minute?

  29. FanOfNaturalSelection calling others names like you are doing, demonstrates how intelligent you are… Get a life bub.

  30. As long as you guys are enjoying each others comments, then a good argument is beneficial for the progress of humanity. I read the article too, and your comments, both entertaining on a Saturday morning. As long as you are enjoying yourselves, keep debating gentlemen.

  31. Did you know scitechdaily censor their comments section and only allow the comments they like? Makes you think

  32. Google Mars Project on Devon Island

  33. He is a Dementia Joe Biden Voter. A complete fool.

  34. This is beautiful. For the people calling this fake I’ll assume you’re the type to believe Covid-19 was “just the flu”, I already saw one of you believes Earth has limitless resources, and vaccines are bad for you. So as long as you view the world thru your narrow lens I’ll be able to avoid contact with you in my personal life and only have to read your trolling comments on sites like this, where big words scare you. For the more intelligent commenters, don’t waste your time trying to educate these idiots, they can barely read and it’s likely they’re too lazy to take you seriously.
    I can’t wait to see what other beautiful surprises Mars has in store ☺️

  35. Theresa A Kanost | May 30, 2021 at 3:00 pm | Reply

    Photos show similarities to Earth! Amazing photos & glad I lived long enough to witness this accomplishment. Ive dabbled in Astronomy since age 13….and no, these arnt fake! My biggest telescope was an 8″ Reflector! There are amazing things “out there”! Open your eyes & enjoy it! Oh, and I did vote for Trump &;believe in God! The Universe did not “create itself”, but is evidence for “an intelligent creator”.

  36. I can’t believe all the comments I’m reading about this article.
    It’s deplorable and disheartening for some of you to think that this is someplace on Earth, when you don’t see a single animal or plant, and it’s quite obvious you’re looking at a barren, lifeless world.

    To those of you that think that God is going to provide all the resources we need on planet Earth, think again. We’re 8 billion destructive primates that use tools and fire. We consume everything like a plague of locusts. When we wear this planet out, those of you who think this is fake and bring your children up, and your children’s children and so on to believe this, well, you will most likely be left behind when we start to colonize our solar system. Even then, when we get out there, we will be mining asteroids for metals and most importantly, water, which by the way is very abundant out there.

    For our species to survive, we must enlighten ourselves and move out to the stars.

    The money that goes into these missions are 1/10 of 1% of the United States government’s budget. Compared to some of you who have been sponging unemployment for the past year and not working, waiting for another government hand out, you’re eating up more than NASA is using to fund these missions. And some of you forget, companies like Space X are private business. Honestly, it’s not God that’s going to save you, it’s going to be guys like Elon Musk and scientists at administrations like NASA that will find the best of the best and spread out through our solar system and beyond. I often wonder if any of you go have made these terrible, uneducated comments can even comprehend the distances these little probes have gone to bring you the wonders and awe that your “god” has created. Can any of you even tell me what a light year is? A parsec? How far away the nearest stellar system is? What the name of it is?

    We don’t do these things because they are easy; we do them because they are hard, and for some of you to dismiss the beauty and immense amount of things out there that these scientists, engineers, astronomers, and physicists bring to you and share with you is rude, an insult, and an affront to centuries of hard work and learning culminating to our exploration of the solar system.

    Shame on you all, and I hope your descendants get left behind.

  37. Carla Wilson | May 31, 2021 at 3:05 am | Reply

    Curiously I had to zoom in . You can see kinda like a blotted halow around the hole edge of the mountain .

  38. VertLIPsmasher | May 31, 2021 at 5:37 am | Reply

    @BRYAN WADE AKINS. There isn’t a endless supply of resources I think your ears must of covered your eyes during anybody with a half a brain stood and talked in front of you. This planet is already deteriorating not only fast but as time goes on it gets much worse. Maybe take a little ownership and park the SUV envoy and bike your face to Mc Donalds for your shift later today . This is something for are kids children you moron it don’t stop after we are blessed by your passing . Grow a pair and learn to live people jezz.,, y’all killing me

  39. This is quite stunning. It’s baffling how many people reject our own destiny of becoming a space age civilization. The usefulness of Mars is more than just minerals, and pure curiosity. It’s the simple fact our specie’s story doesn’t end with the planet Earth.

  40. Hahaha, it’s funny how y’all are quick to believe the lies you’re fed daily.Even more funny is how you reply with insults to every challenge that comes your way, says alot about your “intelligence”.
    The earth is all we got. Learn to take care of it instead of destroying then looking for “alternative earth”.

  41. Love it all

  42. Venera Berens | May 31, 2021 at 9:23 am | Reply


  43. Maxine Findlow | May 31, 2021 at 11:07 am | Reply

    Trump was right about China so please its voting in communist that shows stupid. But why would we think they make this stuff up. If anything they are holding back things from us not the other way around.

  44. Ever think the people saying space exploration is fake, space money’s, etc., etc. are just here trolling because they are bored as hell?

    You allow them to get to you and reply back feeding them. Just ignore them or report and they will go away.

  45. JY-a quote for you:”Better to be silent and thought stupid than to speake and prove it.”
    FanOfNaturalSelection-Why presume a person’s political or spiritual beliefs by whether or not they believe in space exploration?

  46. @Biden2024- no need to call names.
    @Brian- agree with everything EXCEPT the decendents part, not their fault their antecedent was anti-science.
    @AkJen- agree, politics, science, being respectful, dialog/debate.
    @Wykd- AGREE…Mars’ beautiful surprises.
    EVERYONE…please be nice!

  47. Amazing how people are just uneducated. They live in their little bubble and nothing else matters. A little education goes a long way. If you don’t believe in something that’s fine apparently nobody else’s opinion matters, so why should yours? You can’t even post an educated comment, you only post childish and kindergarten language. If you don’t believe in it why read the articles? So you can bash people? I feel sorry for you and anyone you’re around! You bring no intelligence to the conversation!

  48. Perseverance should have google weather app from play stotre

  49. I don’t understand conspiracy theorists. Some of y’all believe that Mars is already colonized, some of y’all think it’s fake. Could you guys join together and make a club or something. I don’t know what you’re believing anymore. I guess I can’t expect people with no understand of science to have collective thoughts I guess.

  50. I think its badass that we have advanced technology to get us more involved on what’s out there. A huge thanks to Nasa and the brave men and women who wanna make history with these explorations not knowing if they’ll make it back to Earth. I have huge respect these people and there’s way more to life than staring at your phone. Take time to look around and see for yourself, you might actually enjoy it.

  51. A lot of subhuman comments especially the idiot commenting about the White House.

  52. Anna Granieri | June 2, 2021 at 12:43 am | Reply

    Those pictures are amazing to me, those clouds seems electric.The team that built and those that delivered or the people that keeps track of Curiosity are doing a great job!I can imagine how thrilled they are !Well done all of them!

  53. While I love all the information gleened thus far about Mars, I do wish NASA would funnel more energy into space exploration toward inhabitable planets that maybe farther away but what we may discover could lead to find a planet we could colonize.

  54. I think o saw a McDonalds in the distance

  55. This is bad comedy…
    I couldn’t help but to notice the amount of ignorance that is able to find its way to public post but…
    Since when did politics or the president have anything to do with Science?
    Now I normally don’t rant on politics because they are all jacked up from the get go…however to point out how much better Biden is than Trump is sort of laughable if you really look at our track records for Presidents.
    So to be more neutral and an
    un professional opinion,
    LIKE All Presidents, they all have their own agenda.
    To say any President of the United States worked Solely for The People is a laughable joke.
    There is so much information being perverted these days that it is hard to believe That The People have allowed Their Government to become its Own Ambition.
    I mean really folks we have been dossil since the 1980’s…
    The people need to take back control of the constitution that was written For The People …
    Not The Government!!!
    The Government Is A Company that We Built, and we must treat it as such…
    The Changes Being Made By Any President Should Be On A Ballot!
    He is an extention of the Voice of The People…Not Corporations OR
    Privately Own Companies and or buisness establishments.
    Corperations cannot have a stake in our elections just as they cannot own land…But they do…
    BOTH Presidents have acted childishly throughout this whole ordeal…But I will say this ..
    Biden is an extention of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama so what did you expect?
    We need to do away with the Titles of Democrats and Republicans All Togeather to be able to Really Work As A Whole…
    One Party, One voice and thats The People.
    Besides The president has no control over Nasa…
    We as Americans or as a country do Not own Nasa…We only hold shares in its stock.
    Nasa answers only to themselves when it comes to science.
    Instead of vomiting ignorance on websites why not spend a little more time researching the information that is being presented.
    If you’re to financially handicapped to buy a Telescope, Borrow one from somebody who has applied themselves.
    Any way,Be Safe… it’s a covid jungle out there and you’re not always going to be a lion.

  56. I can’t believe how bad people are to each doesn’t matter what the comment sections are it looks like everyone would rather waste time hurting each other than actually working together for a better future and understanding how the whole universe works. I’m not a scientist but everybody’s work is what makes this universe it shouldn’t matter what you do in life but why work together instead of focusing on hurting each other and actually help each other and the universe might be a better place!

  57. Where is the debate about the problems here?
    Water clouds => rain
    Drone wings sized for Earth => drone flight in an Earth-like atmospheric thickness.

    No discussion suggests ignorance and appeal to authority.

  58. Wow can’t wait to see me more of this

  59. Damir Subota | June 3, 2021 at 9:12 am | Reply

    It’s so amazing to see such detailed pictures from Mars! It’s exciting to see another world like that, it gives an amazing perspective of that world!

  60. Hard to get educated when the gov has been indoctrinating instead of teaching for many years. 2+2=5 is close enough.

  61. Great now our government is going to want to minipulate those clouds and weather next! Nice one nada u had to tell them about it! Smh oh and the second pic looks like a hand pushing off the top of the mountain!

  62. Dr Reginald fester | June 4, 2021 at 5:20 am | Reply

    I looked at thousands of shots of Mars and one thing I can say for certain is there is clouds in thousands of mars photos. So im not understanding why this is such a big thing . Or is it the type of cloud this is. And if the atmosphere is so thin why so many blue skies . Then if you put colour filters on allot of shots look like builders rubble . Bit like Japan in the 40s after America started the destruction of our atmosphere. Also when Russia blow the massive whole in the ozone layer when they detonated the world’s most powerful device ever detonated in our time. I we wonder why the planet has warmed up . Wake up world why do you think Mr musk is escaping to mars hahahahahaa

  63. What a battle of Witt’s we got going here. tell me who’s more intelligent? The child who starts the neener neener argument, or the self titled smart kid who replys I told you so. Clearly the battle was over and lost with the first insalt of someone’s mentel capacity. Nothing like seeing Earth so called intalects turn into a bunch of bullies whom obviously are so weak minded that they must group together to Billie the mentalie incompasiteated.
    P.s. one insults their own intelligence first.
    While attempting to insalt anothers.

  64. Anyone else see a man in the far right of the picture with the clouds moving?

  65. Engineer Aryan khan | June 6, 2021 at 11:20 pm | Reply

    In this world their no peace the people killing one each other ,and NASA is mantully they expend dollar and time ,Allah created earth’s for humans live spend your life and do good respected behavior but they are spending their life in they ways ,that’s mean to fighting with God .. NASA first find issues of Bermuda tingle, black hole than talk 2 other step

  66. Wow, just wow. All these comments are making me think who’s right, but how do you know as long as you don’t know the truth, but what is truth anyway?
    Well, thank goodness there are still some geniuses in this world who get the connection of clouds = precipitation, which means that there is water on Mars. And that gets to the question of is there life on Mars. Whether or not this is the truth depends on whether we choose to believe it as the truth or not, so good luck.

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