Story at a glance
- NASA’s Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer captured new climate data from Mars.
- The system is aboard the Perseverance space rover, which is searching for more environmental details of the planet.
- This will precede human travel to Mars.
NASA released the first weather report from Mars, courtesy of its Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) system aboard the Perseverance rover.
As of 8:25 pm PST on April 6, the Red Planet was just below minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 20 degrees Celsius on the planet’s surface.
Within 30 minutes, the temperature dropped to minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 25.6 degrees Celsius.
This is the first in a series of weather readings the MEDA will report over the next year. It will focus on capturing temperature cycles, heat fluxes, dust cycles, how particulate matter interacts with light, solar radiation intensity, cloud formation and local winds.
“We’re very excited to see MEDA working well,” said Manuel de la Torre Juárez, deputy principal investigator for MEDA at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “MEDA’s reports will provide a better picture of the environment near the surface. Data from MEDA and other instrument experiments will reveal more pieces of the puzzles on Mars and help prepare for human exploration. We hope that its data will help make our designs stronger and our missions safer.”
The MEDA system is hosted by the Perseverance rover, whose broader mission is to look for ancient microbial life on Mars and further study the planet’s geology and climate history. This will ideally precede human exploration of Mars.