Forecasting -143ºF for the low tonight

April 03, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Okay; not the forecast for anywhere here on Earth. In fact, that's colder than any recorded temperature on Earth in history. Although the former Soviet Union came close in 1983 with an astounding -128.6ºF at an Antarctic outpost toward the interior of Antarctica. The title forecast is the low on 28 March... on Mars. If you are unaware, you can get an Elysium Planitia forecast on Mars. Why would you care about that? Well, if you are not familiar, Elysium Planitia is the latest Mars lander site and is reporting back local weather and the forecast. You can actually check it out here , although it appears the forecast has been down for a few days.

Have you been keeping up with the latest Mars mission, called InSight? You were aware we just recently put a new lander on Mars, right? InSight's primary mission is to measure Mars' seismicity. Scientists can learn much regarding Mars' structure by "listening" to it. In a recent photo you can see where NASA have placed a seismometer nearby. The first seismometer placed on another planet!Mars Siesmometer! Image credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechThe first seismometer placed on another planet!

In the meantime, NASA have been busy drilling a hole (at least 10 meters deep) into the Martian soil but have hit a snag and paused drilling until they can ascertain the problem's nature. The most likely theory is a relatively large and hard rock is blocking the drill's path but mechanical failure cannot be ruled out either. If you haven't been following this latest mission, it is interesting and a little fun to check on it from time to time and it turns out, InSight has quite a chipper Twitter feed; she has some sass. ;-)

In other news, NASA formally said goodbye to Opportunity in February. I have to admit, I was sad to read this news. Opportunity was the rover that would not quit and when it finally succumbed it was like we had lost an explorer; maybe forever abandoned on Mars. If you do not recall, Opportunity was meant to be a 90 day mission (of Mars roving) over a total of 1,100 yards (1000M). That little rover traveled 28 miles (28!!) (or 45KM) over almost 15 years. Both Spirit and Opportunity vastly exceeded the original mission expectations but Opportunity lasted nearly three times longer than Spirit and transmitted back volumes of data scientists are still studying today. 
While that news was sad (to me), we have the InSight lander on Mars and the Curiosity rover in Gale crater, still going strong. Next year will also see the Mars 2020 mission. I cannot help but feel excited about the exploration of Mars and I really hope to see the day when humans first set foot on the planet. What we are doing today are barely baby steps in the exploration of our Solar System but they are progress and we learn so much from these missions and the technology involved helps us here back home too -- not to mention we learn more about our home in the process.


If you want to know more you can follow NASA on Facebook or Twitter or on their site or follow the Insight or Curiosity missions specifically. (Facebook and Twitter links are directly to their InSight pages, search their main site for other missions and news.)

By the way, how @#(^)@^&[email protected][email protected]## incredible is that photo!? We're looking at a photo of another planet! I find it really cool that Mars, at least in this photo, has a similar pale blue sky I can see here on Earth.


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