Photos show drifting predawn clouds captured by Perseverance rover on Mars.

Perseverance rover captures drifting predawn clouds on Mars (photos)

NASA’s Perseverance rover took a pause from its search for signs of ancient life on Mars to capture images of drifting predawn clouds on the red planet. The images, taken with one of the rover’s navigation cameras just before the Martian sunrise on 18 March, were released on World Meteorological Day by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Mars is a dry and dusty planet, but billions of years ago, there was water in many areas on its surface, which could have been a potential spot for microbes. NASA had started a citizen science project last year probing Martian clouds that are made up of carbon dioxide to provide a window into conditions in the planet’s middle atmosphere at around 50 to 80 km in altitude. Perseverance is also gathering samples for future return to Earth, and NASA Science Mission Directorate is considering changes to reduce the cost of the mission.