Accidental science


We’re learning about climate on Mars from a webcam (installed to send us pictures of a now lost lander), which is now being used to reveal more about this long cloud which sometimes persists on the planet:

A Mars Express image of Arsia Mons on Mars and its strange long cloud, taken on July 19, 2020. (Image credit: ESA/GCP/UPV/EHU Bilbao)
ESO/Y.Beletsky – ESO

And it looks like the zodiacal light one can see from any place with dark skies comes from dust also associated with Mars(!), and we’ve been able to learn this because the Juno spacecraft’s huge solar panels turned out to be accidental dust detectors and it looped round the solar system a few times on its way to Jupiter.

The more you look around, the more you find things that you weren’t even looking for.


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