Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Dr. Martínez speaks to NASA about environmental patterns on Mars

Posted: May 16, 2016

Dr. Martínez speaks to NASA about environmental patterns on Mars Image: Gale Crater Rim Viewed from 'Naukluft Plateau’, Credit: NASA

Assistant Research Scientist Germán Martínez spoke with NASA for a recent article about the environmental patterns on Mars recorded by the Curiosity rover.

The rover has completed its second Martian year since landing inside Gale Crater nearly four Earth years ago, which means it has recorded patterns through two full cycles of Martian seasons. The repetition helps distinguish seasonal effects from sporadic events.

“The similar tilts of Earth and Mars give both planets a yearly rhythm of seasons. But some differences are great, such as in comparisons between day and night temperatures. Even during the time of the Martian year when temperatures at Gale Crater rise above freezing during the day, they plummet overnight below minus 130 F due to the thin atmosphere. Also, the more-elliptical orbit of Mars, compared to Earth, exaggerates the southern-hemisphere seasons, making them dominant even at Gale Crater's near-equatorial location,” the article states.

"Mars is much drier than our planet, and in particular Gale Crater, near the equator, is a very dry place on Mars," Martínez, a Curiosity science-team collaborator, told NASA. "The water vapor content is a thousand to 10 thousand times less than on Earth."

To read the full article, please visit NASA.gov.

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