Strange recurring appearance Giant cloud Certainly Mars Scientists have been intrigued since the 1970s, and today they believe that they have uncovered the mystery of this strange phenomenon.
L ‘Arsia Mons An elongated cloud (AMEC) is a giant elongated cloud that can stretch for nearly 1,800 km on Mars. It was first photographed in the 1970s by a Russian probe and occurs every year around the southern solstice of the red planet. This phenomenon also generates winds of up to 600 km / h. Some believe it was the result of a massive volcanic eruption. But this is just a guess.
A team of ESA scientists Then he bent over About the life cycle of the cloud in hopes of breaking its mystery. To do this, I used a camera that was named after Mars Webcam (VMC), installed on the Mars Express space probe.
A wind-related phenomenon
AMEC is the largest urographic cloud ever seen on the fourth planet in the solar system. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), they form when winds push up due to topographic features (such as mountains or volcanoes) on Mars. The cloud mass goes through a daily growth cycle that starts before sunrise. Its expansion is rapid as it extends from the Mars volcano, Arsia Mons. Then it evaporates as the day warms.
This phenomenon repeats for 80 days or more, averaging 2.5 hours a day. This made it possible to observe him for a long time. But its ephemeral nature, the changes in Mars’ atmosphere, and the difficulty of observations about its orbit complicates matters. Additionally, although it has a wide field of view, Mars Webcam It has an average resolution compared to a computer dating back to 2003 …
The need to unravel the AMEC mystery
Orographic clouds exist on Earth, but they do not reach a sizeArsia Mons An elongated cloud. « Understanding this cloud gives us the opportunity to try to reproduce its composition with models that will then improve our knowledge of climate systems on Mars and on Earth. », Explained Agustin Sanchez Lavega, study co-author and researcher attached to the University of the Basque Country.