Car­bon diox­ide ice clouds

All About Space - - Mars Express -

Mars Ex­press' OMEGA in­stru­ment de­tected car­bon diox­ide (CO2) ice clouds, a unique fea­ture of the

Red Planet's cli­mate. These clouds are formed from the freez­ing of car­bon diox­ide gas, which makes up 96 per cent of the Mar­tian at­mos­phere.

These clouds were ob­served at wave­lengths of 0.5 and 4.26 mi­crons. This re­vealed that the abun­dance of clouds varies from Mar­tian year to year – with one Mar­tian year equat­ing to 687 Earth days. In ad­di­tion, these car­bon diox­ide clouds are large and dense enough to form shad­ows on the planet's sur­face, which sug­gests they are 80 kilo­me­tres (50 miles) above the sur­face.

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