There’s something completely sublime about watching solar eclipses from the surface of another planet, as showcased in these new videos captured by NASA’s Curiosity rover.
Mars has two small, oddly shaped moons. Phobos is the larger one at 17 miles (27 km) across, while Deimos is just 9 miles (14.5 km) in diameter. Using its Mastcam, Curiosity recently captured the moons passing in front of the Sun. The NASA rover has done this before, but these new eclipse images, released by NASA yesterday, are among the best we’ve seen to date.
The carbon dioxide and water ice actually sublime in the thin atmosphere directly to gas. Thinner regions of ice typically defrost first revealing sand whose darkness soaks in sunlight and accelerates the thaw. The process might even involve sandy jets exploding through the thinning ice. By Summer, spots will expand to encompass the entire dunes. The Martian North Pole is ringed by many similar fields of barchan sand dunes, whose strange, smooth arcs are shaped by persistent Martian winds.