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NASA’s InSight lander now offers the first public Mars weather service

Published Feb 20th, 2019 12:46PM EST
mars weather reports
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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When you’re getting ready in the morning and need to know whether to wear a jacket or not you probably just tap your smartphone screen a few times and bring up a local weather report. If mankind ever plans on colonizing Mars, the first visitors will benefit greatly from a similar service that offers weather outlooks for the Red Planet.

NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars a few months back and in the time since its arrival it set up a bunch of neat tools it will use to monitor the interior of the planet. Its primary mission is to relay data on the inner workings of Mars but the robot is equipped with sensors that allow it to produce its own Martian weather reports as well, and you can browse them yourself.

As part of the Mars InSight web hub, NASA has built a full-fledged Mars Weather page, complete with high and low temperatures, wind speeds and direction, and air pressure. NASA uses this information to account for potential variations in the readings it receives from the robot’s seismometer which is listening closely for things happening deep under the surface.

The Mars weather reports are something of an added bonus. The weather information is vital to the mission, but it’s interesting on its own as well, and now you can see a full rundown of temperature changes and the local climate each day going forward.

As you may or may not have known, Mars is a very, very cold place. The most recent weather reading from February 17th shows a high of 2 degrees Fahrenheit and a very chilly low of -138 degrees. Wind speeds were around 12 miles per hour on average with gusts up to nearly 38 mph.

The site also shows weather changes over time via handy graphs, allowing us to see how much the weather varies day-to-day. Check it out!