TES NEWS, Volume 4, Number 3, August 1995

Blue Skies for Mars?

by K. Edgett, ASU

When Mars Pathfinder lands on July 4, 1997, it might see a clear, blue sky! Observations of Mars made using telescopes (including the Hubble Space Telescope) over the past several years by Todd Clancy (a TES team member) and his colleagues at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, have found that the martian atmosphere has lately been colder and less dusty than it was during the Viking missions of the 1970's. If the clear weather holds for another martian year, then the sky might be a dark, almost violet blue color, instead of pink, when Mars Pathfinder lands. The pink skies seen by the Vikings was caused by dust suspended in the atmosphere.

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