NASA recently shared an image captured by Perseverance that showed a unique scene: the surface of Mars with a sky crowned by what appeared to be a martian rainbow. It goes without saying that this generated a lot of interest, but as we have already told you in the title, no, it is not a rainbow, but something much simpler.
If it’s not a rainbow, then what has Perseverance captured? Well, very simple, a simple lens flare, This has been confirmed by the official NASA account on Twitter, where they have also explained why it is not possible for this type of phenomenon to occur in the Martian sky, at least in its current state, everything is said.
As many of our readers will know, a rainbow occurs when light reflects off small water droplets in the atmosphere. Well, not only is there not enough water on Mars for the phenomenon of condensation to occur, but also the temperatures registered by this planet are too cold for water to exist in liquid form in its atmosphere.
And how has Perseverance produced a lens flare?
It also has an explanation, and it is even simpler than the previous one. From the moment NASA began development of the Perseverance rover, it decided that it was necessary to install sun visors on the front Hazcams camera. The main objective of these sunshades was to facilitate safe driving when the rover is moving forward.
Since Perseverance almost always moves forward, those shades were essential and made all the sense in the world in that chamber, but they were not used in the rear Hazcams camera, since it hardly moves backwards. By not having those parasols, said camera can show, in some of the images it captures, that peculiar lens flare.
The Perseverance rover has been on the surface of Mars for a couple of months now, and is undergoing a major research process to determine if there could be life in part in times past. It is important to bear in mind that, in this sense, the research is not being limited to complex life forms, but to life forms in their most general concept.
We already told you in this special dedicated to ten curiosities about Mars, that our neighbor has many things in common with Earth, and that in a very distant past could have had a thick atmosphere, oceans by their surface and conditions that, broadly speaking, would have been optimal for the appearance of life. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand the motivation behind Perseverance.
Many have asked: Is that a rainbow on Mars? No. Rainbows aren’t possible here. Rainbows are created by light reflected off of round water droplets, but there isn’t enough water here to condense, and it’s too cold for liquid water in the atmosphere. This arc is a lens flare. pic.twitter.com/mIoSSuilJW
– NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 6, 2021