Cloudspotting on Mars

NASA is researching clouds in the upper atmosphere of Mars and it needs your help to spot them.  If you’re interested in doing some extra-terrestrial cloudspotting, join in with NASAs Citizen Science project to help recognise the tell-tale signals of Martian clouds on the readings from the Mars Climate Sounder, an instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  The clouds are likely composed of water ice and carbon dioxide ice.  Your input in spotting them from their satellite readings will help us better understand these Martian clouds.

More information can be found here

The arch shapes arise because the apparent altitude of the cloud changes as the spacecraft moves along its orbit as shown in the figure below on the left (Diagram of geometry from Sefton-Nash et al., 2012). As the spacecraft moves from point 0, to points 1, 2, and 3, MCS views a different part of the atmosphere (continuing to look at the limb) such that the apparent altitude of a cloud (z’) rises from the surface. The peak of the arch in altitude (point 3) represents the true altitude of the cloud. Once the spacecraft moves on to points 4 and 5, the cloud appears to descend in altitude, which completes the arch-like shape. 

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