Some people think the cold weather in Delhi or the winter storm in the US is harsh. They certainly wouldn’t like to visit Mars when space travel becomes a viable option. NASA took to its social media feeds across Twitter and Instagram and shared some magnificent images and factoids about the winter wonderland that Mars has become.
The images reveal that, barring the temperature, the weather behaves almost identically to the Earth’s winter season.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, shared the images as a video. The footage showed what snow, frost, and ice would look like on Mars.
Through the video, we also learn that Mars has a ton of dry ice, a form of solid carbon dioxide. Instead of melting like regular ice, the dry ice sublimates or changes over to gas. During the process, it creates some bizarre but scenic landscapes, which give the images an ethereal appeal.
Mars also has water or regular ice. JPL Mars scientist Sylvain Piquex states in the video, “If you get to the correct spots, you will find water ice, similar to the one we have on Earth. This is the sort of water ice astronauts might use when we travel there.”
Ice crystals fall on Mars just like snow always does on Earth. Phoenix discovered ice crystals dropping from a cloud when it used its Canadian-made LIDAR (or light detection and ranging) to fire a laser into the planet’s sky.
There is also frost on some parts of Mars. NASA’s Viking landers captured images of water ice on Mars in the 1970s. More lately, the Odyssey spacecraft and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have captured images of carbon dioxide on the planet.
The presence of carbon dioxide ice on the planet should give you an idea about just how cold temperatures can dip on Mars. “We don’t experience CO2 frost here on Earth. Where you would discover CO2 ice, it is freezing, at -190 degrees Fahrenheit,” Piquex states. That’s almost -123 degrees celsius, far below what water freezes.