Enormous cloud-like plumes reaching 160 miles above the surface of Mars have left scientists baffled. This is way beyond Mars’ normal weather, reaching into the exosphere where the atmosphere merges with interplanetary space. None of the conventional explanations for such clouds make sense – neither water or carbon dioxide ice nor dust storms nor auroral light emissions usually hit such heights.
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Scientists have now analysed the images and say that say the formation, stretching for more than 1,000km, is larger than any seen before. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers believe the plume could be a large cloud or an exceptionally bright aurora. However, they are unsure how these could have formed in the thin upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere.
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