Watch Clouds Move Above Mars as the Sun Rises and Sets

Martian sunrise, courtesy of InSight 4 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Martian cloudsMartian sunriseMartian sunset
Just a few months into its mission on Mars, the InSight lander has already treated mankind with seldom seen experiences from the Red Planet, ranging from the feel of Sun eclipses to the sound of a Martian quake. And now, we can once again see our Sun rise and set on another planet.
This is not the first time humans have witnessed these events from millions of miles away. The first to document sunrises and sunsets on mars was Viking 1, in 1976, followed by Viking 2 in 1978. Then the rovers took over and captured these moments repeatedly.

InSight’s photos of the events were taken on April 24 and 25 at 5:30 a.m and 6:30 p.m., Martian time. The lander used a camera on its robotic arm to capture the stills.

"It's been a tradition for Mars missions to capture sunrises and sunsets," said in a statement Justin Maki, InSight science team co-investigator.

"With many of our primary imaging tasks complete, we decided to capture the sunrise and sunset as seen from another world."

Although sunsets and sunrises on Mars are a common sight for humans, clouds drifting on the Martian sky are less so.

While it was trying to capture the images for these postcards, the lander managed to snap clouds drifting in the sky at sunset, using another camera on its deck.

These clouds are most likely made of dust particles that have been picked up by the winds crisscrossing the planet.

InSIght is the most recent machine sent by humans to Mars. Its most important goal is to sample the events unfolding underneath the crust of the planet by using instruments to measure ground motions.

The first results of this analysis were made public earlier in April. On April 6, using the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument Insight detected a minor tremor on the planet, possibly the first ever Marsquake experienced by humans.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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