|Mars Snowflakes (Photo: NASA)|
After collecting data from two Mars-orbiting spacecraft to calculate the size of snowflakes on Mars, a team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists found that Mars snowflakes, which are composed of carbon dioxide rather than water, are as small as the human red blood cells.
"These are very fine particles, not big flakes," said Kerri Cahoy, the Boeing Career Development Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.
The results of the study suggest that, instead of resembling a blizzard, Mars snow would probably look like fog as it fell.
The researchers also discovered that there are 50 per cent more Martian snow buildup in the south arctic regions than the snowfall over north arctic regions. There are also seasonal variations -- during the winter, the CO2 snow clouds spread to very low latitudes, about half-way to the Martian equatorial regions (much like on Earth).
"For the first time, using only spacecraft data, we really revealed this phenomenon on Mars," Renyu Hu, study coauthor and a grad student at MIT told Space.com.
The study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, which details the group's results. FULL STORY...