ROANOKE, Va. – While our part of Virginia is reaching the peak of an early spring warm-up, the weather report from Mars isn’t quite that warm.
Perseverance landed on the Red Planet on February 19th. It hosts the third instrument on Mars to collect atmospheric data. (Curiosity and NASA’s InSight lander have atmospheric sensors as well).
The Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) aboard the rover was fired up the following day.
MEDA will record, “Dust levels and six atmospheric conditions – wind (both speed and direction), pressure, relative humidity, air temperature, ground temperature, and radiation (from both the Sun and space).”
Over the next year, researchers will comb over this data in an effort to help future exploration of the planet.
Initial data from the Jezero Crater showed the air temperature to be 4°F below zero, dropping to 14° below in a matter of 30 minutes. Mars’ atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s. That, in addition to very dry air and distance from the sun, make the Red Planet a very cold one.
In fact, on April 3rd and 4th, the high temperature at the Jezero Crater was roughly 8° below zero with a low of 117° below zero.
For more on Perseverance and the MEDA’s mission, be sure to click here.