How’s the Weather on Mars? (NASA Mars Report)
Seasons change even on Mars and NASA's fleet of explorers are helping scientists learn more about the effects on the Red Planet. NASA's Perseverance and Curiosity rovers provide daily weather reports by measuring conditions such as humidity, temperature, and wind speed on the surface. Orbiters including Odyssey, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN), and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) survey the scope and scale of storms from above. Changing weather conditions can be challenging for the spacecraft. The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter recently increased its rotor speed from 2,537 rpm to 2,700 rpm to fly in a thinner summer atmosphere. Meanwhile, NASA’s InSight lander, which is studying Mars’ interior, recently measured one of the biggest, longest-lasting marsquakes the mission has ever detected.
For more information on NASA's Mars missions, visit mars.nasa.gov.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/ASU/MSSS
Seasons change even on Mars. A look at how NASA’s explorers study the weather and cope with change, especially in the case of the Ingenuity Helicopter, which now has to fly in a thinner atmosphere.
This visualization, known as “NASA’s Eyes”, shows where the agency’s two rovers are touring the planet. For most of them, measuring the weather is a key part of their job. It's early summer in Jezero Crater where NASA’s Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity Helicopter are exploring the South Seitah region. Perseverance uses its Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, MEDA, to measure temperature, humidity, wind speed, and direction. These wind sensors also measure the amount and size of dust particles in the atmosphere helping scientists understand the dust cycle and its impact on weather.
MEDA also provides the Ingenuity Helicopter with critical preflight weather forecasts. Recently, warmer temperatures and a thinning atmosphere have made it more difficult for the helicopter to generate enough lift to fly. Its rotors had to spin faster than they had in previous flights, roughly 2,700 revolutions a minute.
In the southern hemisphere, where the Curiosity rover is driving in Gale Crater, it’s early winter.
The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station, REMS, provides daily weather reports and takes regular dust surveys to measure seasonal changes over time.
The InSight lander is focused on what’s happening below ground. In September, it measured one of the biggest, longest-lasting marsquakes ever detected. Seismic waves from the magnitude 4.2 shook InSight for nearly an hour and a half.
Finally, the fleet of orbiters, including Odyssey, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Maven help scientists understand the scope and scale of storms from above. MRO produces a daily global weather map and provides us with amazing images. If you're interested in dunes on other worlds, check out these recent photos.
To get the latest updates, follow @NASA JPL and @NASAMARS on social media or take a deeper dive on the mission websites at mars.nasa.gov.