PIA11200: Lidar Measurements of Snow Falling from Martian Clouds
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Phoenix
Spacecraft: Phoenix Mars Lander
Product Size: 720 x 540 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Canadian Space Agency
Full-Res TIFF: PIA11200.tif (1.168 MB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA11200.jpg (67.73 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

The Canadian-built lidar aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander produced this graphic of a profile of a Martian cloud on the 99th sol, or Martian day, of the mission (Sept. 3, 2008). The vertical streaks at the base of the cloud on the right of the image show ice crystals falling from the cloud, similar to snow. The streaks are curved as the winds are faster around 3 kilometers (almost 2 miles) than at higher altitudes. Scientists are able to determine that the snow is water-based and not carbon-dioxide snow, since temperatures on Mars are currently too warm to support the latter.

Photojournal Note: As planned, the Phoenix lander, which landed May 25, 2008 23:53 UTC, ended communications in November 2008, about six months after landing, when its solar panels ceased operating in the dark Martian winter.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Canadian Space Agency

Image Addition Date:
2008-09-30