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This graphic shows clouds of water on Mars.
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Image from: NASA/JPL

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Water Clouds

You might think that clouds in the sky have to be made of water like those of Earth, but this is not always so. Clouds might be made of carbon dioxide or ammonia. Just take a peek at the planets Jupiter or Venus. This graph, taken by Mars Global Surveyor, shows proof that the clouds of Mars are made of water. The sequence shows the water clouds moving across the face of Mars. The Mariner 9 mission was the first to provide scientists with proof that the clouds of Mars contained water. Mars Pathfinder took images of Martian clouds from the ground level. Clouds seem mostly to be found in the middle of Mars, as the measurement shows. Clouds are also seen at the north pole. This may be because the spring season is approaching, and ice at the north polar is evaporating.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA