Capture of an Otherworldly Blue Sunset on Mars

The space explorer Perseverance has recently collected remarkable imagery of a strange, blue-tinted sunset on Mars.

Oct 7, 2023 - 17:20
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Capture of an Otherworldly Blue Sunset on Mars

The space explorer Perseverance has recently collected remarkable imagery of a strange, blue-tinted sunset on Mars. It is an uncommon and captivating sight, one which provides further insight into the skies of the Red Planet.

The newly acquired photo was gathered using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera onboard the rover. It was taken last week and shows a distant mountain range lit up by a dim, purple-blue light.

This particular hue is unlike anything typically seen on Earth. On our planet, sunsets tend to cast more of an orange or pinkish glow. But on Mars, the atmosphere is very different. It is much thinner and composed of different gasses than Earth‘s, including carbon dioxide.

The purple-blue color comes down to an interplay between dust particles in the air and the setting Sun, which appears to be lower in the sky as well. This dust is made up of tiny, suspended particles that are capable of selectively scattering the blue portions of light. This has an effect of deepening the shadows and deepening the blue tinge across the landscape.

The sunset is something of a phenomenon, but it also poses a risk to the rover. The reduced light means that the rover needs to use its Hazard Avoidance Camera (Hazcam) to avoid any potential collisions or other issues that could damage it.

Despite the dangers, Perseverance continues on in its journey. After all, it is a mission that is all about exploring the marvels that exist on the distant planet – and that includes the strange, blue-tinged sunsets.