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NASA Perseverance Rover’s first Mars weather report makes you shake

This GIF shows the implementation of part of the MEDA system on the Perseverance Rover on Mars.

NASA / JPL-Caltech

I can well imagine the Perseverance rover as a weather reporter standing in front of a green screen with a map of the Jezero crater, telling us all about the soft, cold weather celebrating over Mars that day. We’ll have to settle for NASA’s statement on Tuesday and give us rovers’ first weather report from the red planet.

Endurance is equipped with the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) system, which collects data on air and soil temperature, relative humidity, radiation, pressure and wind speed and direction.

MEDA took its first readings on February 19, not long after the rover landed on Mars. The first weather report showed that it was about minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Celsius) on the surface. The temperature dropped over the next 30 minutes to minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 25.6 degrees Celsius).

The system has been collecting data since its first weather report and has recorded temperatures as low as minus 117.4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 83 degrees Celsius) with gusts of up to 22 mph (10 meters per second).

The weather will be especially important as the experimental Invention helicopter approaching its first test flight. The rotor vessel shall stay warm through the cold martian nights and wind is a potential danger once it is in the air.

“Over the next year, MEDA will provide valuable information on temperature cycles, heat fluxes, dust cycles, and how dust particles interact with light and ultimately affect both temperature and weather,” NASA said. The data helps researchers plan future missions for both machines and humans.

Mars fans can compare the weather in the Jezero Crater with other spots on the red planet. The Curiosity rover delivers weather from Gale Crater, and the InSight lander monitors the Elysium Planitia (though lander reports are currently on hiatus).

However, they all agree: Mars is cold.

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