17 Sep '12, 2pm

Snow on Mars! NASA orbiter sees carbon dioxide snowflakes

Snow on Mars! NASA orbiter sees carbon dioxide snowflakes

Martian snow is depicted in this artist's rendering as a mist or fog that eventually settles to the surface. (Image: NASA, Christine Daniloff/MIT News) A spacecraft orbiting Mars has detected carbon dioxide snow falling on the Red Planet, making Mars the only body in the solar system known to host this weird weather phenomenon. The snow on Mars fell from clouds around the planet's south pole during the Martian winter spanning 2006 and 2007, with scientists discovering it only after sifting through observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The Martian south pole hosts a frozen carbon dioxide — or "dry ice" — cap year-round, and the new discovery may help explain how it formed and persists, researchers said. "These are the first definitive detections of carbon-dioxide snow clouds ," lead author Paul Hayne, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena...

Full article: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/stories/snow-on-ma...

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