The Washington Post

Out-of-this-world temperatures swings

We’ve seen our fair share of extreme weather here on Earth these past few years. Yet when it comes to temperatures at least, Mars is far more volatile, as seen in the latest weather report from NASA’s Curiosity rover.

The graph below shows the dramatic swing in air and ground temperatures on Mars Aug. 16-17.

Mars’ ground and air temperatures Aug. 16-17, as observed by NASA’s Curiosity rover

Why so bitter cold? That’s what being 50% farther from the sun than Earth will do for you.

Soon, the Curiosity rover will be providing full Mars weather reports that look like this:

An example (not actual data) of what the Mars weather reports will look like. “Sol” refers to the Martian solar day, which at 24 hours and 39 minutes is 3% longer than Earth’s solar day.

Related: The NASA Curiosity rover and weather on Mars

Dan Stillman is a meteorologist and editor for the Capital Weather Gang. He earned an M.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University, and a B.S. in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences from the University of Michigan.


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