Curiosity Rover Delivers Mars Weather Report; Red Planet Have Changing Seasons
Since the Curiosity Rover landed on Mars on August 2012, it has recorder and delivered numerous data for scientists to analyze. And recent findings show that, similar to Earth, Mars also have changing weather.
Because Mars is further away from the Sun compared to our planet, four Earth-years is equivalent to two Martian-years. The rover has already completed two Martian years on the red planet that's why the data from each Martian years can now be compared to each other.
According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the data sent back by the curiosity rover shows that the along with the climate, the temperature on Mars also changes with it. In winter the temperature at the Gale crater can get as cold as -90 degrees Celsius. During summer however, the temperature can be bearable for humans at -1 degree Celsius. In the course of the changing seasons, clouds and frost can also be observed.
JPL further explained that the seasons observed on Mars could be due to the same tilt in axis of the two planets.
"The similar tilts of Earth and Mars give both planets a yearly rhythm of seasons. But some differences are great, such as in comparisons between day and night temperatures" said Ashwin Vasavada in the same report by JPL mentioned above.
The curiosity rover can measure weather changes on the red planet with the help of the Curiosity's Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS). "Curiosity's weather station has made measurements nearly every hour of every day, more than 34 million so far...The duration is important, because it's the second time through the seasons that lets us see repeated patterns" said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "
The rover also managed to capture images of the Martian surface and its weather behavior which show that dust tends to build up during spring and summer while it is windier in autumn.
TechTimes said that the changing seasons may help scientists explain how the planet behaved billions of years ago. But for NASA, the weather data from the Curiosity Rover can help them in making the atmosphere more human-friendly for the journey to Mars in 2030.