Is there weather on Mars? Short answer: yes! And just like on Earth it varies wildly. Now, thanks to the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, or MEDA instrument on NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover, we’re learning even more about Martian meteorology with daily weather reports. Over to José Antonio Rodríguez-Manfredi at the Spanish Astrobiology Center for more.
The weather on Mars is in some sense very similar to the weather we have here on Earth. Both planets have seasons, strong winds, and clouds. But we’ve also found huge differences.
The thermal variations on Mars are wider than on Earth. For example, the temperature where Perseverance is on the Red Planet can go from -14 Fahrenheit to -120 Fahrenheit in a single day, so this is really extreme. Other interesting meteorological phenomena occurring on Mars are the local, regional, or even global dust storms.
To better understand these weather variations and the climate, Perseverance has a science instrument that is focused on the study of the Martian atmosphere. This is the MEDA instrument. MEDA stands for Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer.
NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover and InSight Mars Lander also have their own meteorological stations. Together with MEDA on Perseverance, we have the first meteorological network on another planet.
These three science instruments on our Mars missions are working simultaneously to help us better understand the atmospheric dynamic.