Scientist Discover Snow on Mars
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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered snow on Mars. Unlike snow on Earth, Martian snow is very small and made up of frozen carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, not water. The carbon dioxide snowflakes are about the size of a red blood cell, so they appear as more of a cloud of fog on the surface of the planet than individual flakes of precipitation.

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Snowflakes On Mars - as part of the news series by GeoBeats. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered snow on Mars. Unlike snow on Earth, Martian snow is very small and made up of frozen carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, not water. The carbon dioxide snowflakes are about the size of a red blood cell, so they appear as more of a cloud of fog on the surface of the planet than individual flakes of precipitation. Paul Hayne, from the California Institute of Technology says the discovery will help scientists understand how the seasonal ice caps on the poles of Mars are formed. “The ice could be freezing directly at the surface, or forming as snow particles in the atmosphere and snowing down on the surface … this work seems to show that at least in some cases it’s snowfall rather than direct ice deposition.” Using data collected over ten years from a spacecraft on the surface of Mars, a graduate student from MIT working on the study says that scientists are laying the groundwork for several scientific questions to be answered including the properties of dust on Mars, and how the carbon dioxide snow contributes to the “energy budget of the planet.”