This Martian “rainbow” will only lead to fools gold.
NASA Persistence all-terrain vehicle took a picture on Sunday (April 4) of what appeared to be a rainbow sweeping across the dusty Martian sky. The startling image spread quickly on social media, as did the “rainbow” explanation, prompting NASA to step in and tell the real story.
“Many people ask: is it a rainbow on Mars? No. A rainbow is not possible here. The rainbow is created by light reflected from round water droplets, but there is not enough water for condensation, and it is too cold for the liquid. water in the atmosphere. This arc is a lens flare, “the agency said. wrote on Tuesday via Perseverance’s official Twitter account., @NASAPersevere.
Connected: NASA Mars Perseverance mission in photos
Perseverance captured the photo with its left rear camera to prevent danger, so the light scattering effect is not surprising.
“I have sun visors on my front Hazcams that were considered critical (I need them to move forward and I usually drive forward). their images, “the officials wrote. another tweet @NASAPersevere on Tuesday.
On February 18, the Perseverance rover landed in the 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide Jezero crater on Mars. The rover is currently preparing to observe NASA’s historic spacecraft missions. Mars Helicopter Ingenuitythat was recently deployed from the stomach of Perseverance.
NASA officials said the month-long Ingenuity flight campaign, which aims to demonstrate that aerial exploration of Mars is possible, could begin as early as Sunday (April 11).
After Ingenuity has finished flying, Perseverance will focus on its scientific goals. The car-sized rover will look for signs of ancient life at the bottom of Lake Jezero, where the lake and river delta were billions of years ago.
Perseverance will also collect and close several dozen particularly promising samples for return to Earth, where they can be studied in detail by scientists in well-equipped laboratories. A joint NASA / European Space Agency campaign will bring this material Mars home, possibly as early as 2031.
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.