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Huge Pressure Swings on Mars

posted Oct 3, 2012, 1:49 PM by M Stoltz
Press Release (Astrobiology Magazine/University of Hawaii-Manoa, 10.03.12)

Curiosity, the NASA rover that landed on Mars last month, is sending us remarkable weather observations from the Martian surface that are attracting interest
from scientists. “From a weather point of view, Mars is the most ‘Earth-like’ of the other planets in our solar system, and many features of the weather there are similar to Earth,” says Kevin Hamilton, a pioneer in the area of computer modeling of the Martian atmosphere. 

Hamilton, who is Director of UH Manoa’s International Pacific Research Center and a Professor of Meteorology, noted that Curiosity is the fifth ‘Weather Station’ on Mars. Over the last 35 years, a total of four NASA probes had reached the martian surface and returned weather data. 

“These earlier observations had shown a large daily cycle in temperature and air pressure on Mars. The atmospheric temperature near the surface of Mars generally varies by more than 100°F between day and night because of the overall thinner martian atmosphere and lack of oceans and their moderating influence,” says Hamilton. 

To read the full article, please click here.

[Image: NASA/JPL]