As it wanders around Mars and dedicates itself to various analyzes, the Perseverance rover sends several images here, and one of them, captured last Sunday (4), is jaw-dropping. The little robot recorded an event on the Red Planet that, until then, was something exclusive to Earth’s inhabitants, divulged by the North American Space Agency (NASA): the presence of a rainbow in the extraterrestrial sky. As expected, the fact went viral on the internet; however, the bucket of cold water came soon after.
Andrew Good, an expert at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains that this is just the result of a reflection in the lens of the Hazard Avoidance Camera, equipment responsible for photography. In any case, researchers from various fields of study presented some ideas before clarification – and the hypotheses suggest that, at some point, the spectacle may, in fact, occur.
To Futurism, Andrew gave details: “We have umbrellas on the front Hazcams, which were considered essential, [but not] on the back, so you can still see scattered artifacts of light in your images.” Without protection, diffractions come.
Over the Rainbow…
If, here, the show occurs after the refraction of sunlight by water droplets – a rare element on the arid surface of our space neighbor -, meteorologists, in an interview with Futurism, point out that a Martian rainbow can be born from of the reflection generated by grains of dust.
On the other hand, according to a comment by Rich Zurek made in 2015, chief scientist of NASA’s Red Planet exploration program, clouds formed by ice particles are abundant there. So, the bet that they would initiate such projections is not discarded.
It is known that other places can also have similar physical phenomena. For example, droplets of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere of Venus create unique patterns in the region.
In turn, Titan, Saturn’s moon, has enough liquid methane droplets in its atmosphere to form rains – however, it lacks sufficient direct lighting, which would make it difficult to produce colorful events, although not making them impossible at all, points out radio astronomer Alastair Gunn, in a post on the BBC’s Science Focus blog.
We will have plenty of opportunities to witness something like that on Mars going forward, with so many missions in progress. In addition, who knows what the future holds for other destinations.