Martian Linky

NASA’s rover Curiosity is still alive and well in the Gale Crater, just south of Mars’ equator. Meanwhile, on Earth, the team of scientists who designed the robot’s weather station, known as the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), have decided to become the world’s first Martian weathermen.

Jorge Pla-García, the group’s meteorologist, likes the term. “When we send a human to Mars, we could include a section in the news,” he says.

Pla-García works at the Spanish National Center of Astrobiology, which is associated with NASA. Now, along with other two researchers, he has decided to publish a periodical weather report in layman terms. The other two weathermen are Antonio Molina, who inputs geological data, and Javier Gómez Elvira, who processes the data for mainstream consumption.

To make the weather report more appealing to the general public, the team has made a point of including comparisons with Earthly weather phenomena. In their first report, released on March 15, they compared the Gale Crater winds with the Chinook air streams in the Rocky Mountains of North America. Their second report, released on July 11, discusses the strong whirlwinds known as Dust Devils.

“We do it because it’s the public’s right,” says Pla-García. “They fund us with their taxes, so they deserve to know what their money is being spent on!”

In their second report, the team highlights the start of summer in the Gale Crater. It’s also the end of the dusty season in the Martian southern hemisphere. During the spring, solar radiation warmed the air closer to the ground and lifted the particles, but now it’s “crystal clear time,” says Pla-García.

This month, as in the one before, atmospheric pressure is on its way down. It’s a typical feature of the Red Planet’s summertime, as the atmosphere’s main gas, carbon dioxide, progressively freezes over the Southern Polar Cap.As usual, Martian temperatures have stayed under 0ºC for the whole month, and they shouldn’t be expected to get higher any time soon.
More at source.