Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It always rains on the fourth of July

Mars repeated weather

I came across this in the NASA/JPL web page and I thought it was pretty cool: there are places in Mars that have repeated, predictable weather patterns. These four photographs show a circular cloud appearing over the same terrain, near the Martian North pole, each Martian summer. Another example is here where a volcano gets a massive dust devil every year in the late Martian autumn. Here's the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)report:

The wide angle cameras have shown us that Mars has fairly predictable weather, with some storms and cloud phenomena repeating every year, like clockwork. There are specific times of year and locations on Mars which have experienced the same dust storm patterns every Mars year since we began observing with the first MGS MOC approach image in July 1997.

Apparently Martian atmospherics are dominated by seasonal heating and local geological features, making for a much simpler picture than earth.


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