Nobody Knows What These Mysterious Plumes are on Mars

In the Journal Nature, astronomers deliver an exhaustive study of limited albeit high quality ground-based observations of Mars and come up short. A Martian mystery remains. What caused the extremely high-altitude plumes on Mars? (Credit: Nature, Sánchez-Lavega, A. et al. Feb 16, 2015, Figures 1a, 2)

In the Journal Nature, astronomers deliver an exhaustive study of limited albeit high quality ground-based observations of Mars and come up short. A Martian mystery remains. What caused the extremely high-altitude plumes on Mars? (Credit: Nature, Sánchez-Lavega, A. et al. Feb 16, 2015, Figures 1a, 2)

In March 2012, amateur astronomers began observing unusual clouds or plumes along the western limb of the red planet Mars. The plumes, in the southern hemisphere rose to over 200 kilometers altitude persisting for several days and then reappeared weeks later.

So a group of astronomers from Spain, the Netherlands, France, UK and USA have now reported their analysis of the phenomena. Their conclusions are inconclusive but they present two possible explanations.

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© Tim Reyes for Universe Today, 2015. |
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