Cloudspotting on Mars

Clouds are both drivers and products of a planet’s climate. How does this work on Mars? Join us as we unlock the secrets of the red planet’s atmosphere, which is so different from Earth’s.  

WHO: All Ages 
WHERE: Online

This feather-shaped iridescent cloud was captured just after sunset

This feather-shaped iridescent cloud was captured just after sunset on Jan. 27, 2023, the 3,724th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s mission. Studying the colors in iridescent clouds tells scientists something about particle size within the clouds and how they grow over time.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Go to Project Website

What you’ll get to do:

  • Learn to recognize the telltale pattern of clouds in graphed data collected by the Mars Climate Sounder on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • Look for and mark any cloud signatures you see in data graphs.
  • Contribute to the fundamental understanding of Martian clouds.


  • Time: ~15 Minutes to complete online training.
  • Equipment: Internet connected mobile device or computer
  • Knowledge: None. In-project training provided.
A bare orange-brown rocky cliff or outcropping with a rounded top fills most of the picture. Above it the sky is grey with a scattering of white, diffuse clouds.

A Mars mesospheric cloud observed from the Martian surface by NASA's Curiosity rover. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS].

Get started!

  1. Visit our project website.
  2. Click the “Get started” button and complete the short Tutorial to learn how to identify Martian clouds in data. 
  3. Start identifying clouds on Mars in data collected by the Mars Climate Sounder.
  4. Connect with other project participants and scientists in the project’s Talk forum.
Typical of Cloudspotting on Mars data, this graphical representation shows data in white on a dark field. The graph is labeled with time increasing from left to right and altitude increasing from bottom to top. In this image, the cloud indicating data look like pure white flames that reach almost halfway to the top of the image, with seven “peaks” irregularly distributed along the timeline. This strong signal is the Martian atmosphere. Some peaks have a faint but distinct blue arch or arches near to them.

An example of the Cloudspotting on Mars data representations, as annotated by an experienced participant.

Learn More:

Join the Zooniverse Talk forums to learn from peers and scientists, or join our email list to be invited to semi-regular video calls with the project science team. You can access a playlist of recordings of previous project webinars here

Want to learn the basics about Mars?

Get to know the Cloudspotting on Mars science team!


Marek Slipski
Planetary Scientist/Cloudspotting on Mars Lead Scientist


Armin Kleinboehl
Planetary Scientist/Mars Climate Sounder Deputy Principal Investigator


Steven Dillman
Student Researcher/Aerospace Engineering


Jason Reimuller
Atmospheric Scientist/Citizen Science Expert