No matter how cold your winter is, it's probably not
as cold as Mars. Check for yourself: Starting today, the public can get a daily basis
weather report of the NASA InSight LG.
This public tool includes statistics on temperature, wind and
atmospheric pressure recorded by InSight. Sunday weather was typical of the LG
end of the northern winter: a maximum of 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-17
degrees Celsius) and a minimum of -138 degrees Fahrenheit (-95 degrees Celsius), with
a maximum wind speed of 37.8 mph (16.9 m / s) in a southwesterly direction. The tool was
developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, with
partners of Cornell University and Centro de Astrobiología in Spain. JPL leads
the InSight mission.
Through a set of sensors called auxiliary load
Subsystem (APSS), InSight will provide more 24-hour weather information
than any previous mission to the Martian surface. The Lander records this data
during each second of each floor (a Martian day) and sends it to Earth on a
daily basis. The spacecraft is designed to continue this operation for at least
the next two Earth years, allowing him to also study seasonal changes.
The tool will be a fun geek for meteorologists while
offering all those who use it a chance to be transported to another planet.
"It gives you the feeling of visiting an alien
place, "said Don Banfield of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, who
leads the meteorological science of InSight. "Mars has familiar atmospheric phenomena that are still pretty
different from those of the Earth. "
The constant collection of meteorological data allows scientists to
detect sources of "noise" that may influence the readings of the
Seismometer and Lander Thermal Flow Probe, its main instruments. Both are
affected by extreme fluctuations in the temperature of Mars. Seismometer, called seismic
Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), is sensitive
changes in atmospheric pressure and wind, which create movements that could mask
"APSS will help us filter the noise of the environment in
seismic data and know when we see a marsquake and when we
are not, "said Banfield. By operating continuously, we will also see a
more detailed weather than most surface missions, which usually
collect data only intermittently throughout a soil. "
The APSS includes an air pressure sensor inside the LG and the
two air and wind temperature sensors on the deck of the undercarriage. Under the edge of
the bridge is a magnetometer, provided by UCLA, which will measure changes in the
local magnetic field that could also influence SEIS. This is the first
magnetometer never placed on the surface of another planet.
InSight will provide a unique dataset that will complement
meteorological measurements from other active missions, including NASA's Curiosity
rover and orbiters around the planet. The air temperature and the wind of InSight
the sensors are actually refurbished replacement parts originally built for Curiosity Vagabond
Environmental monitoring station (REMS). These two is and
The west-facing booms sit on the deck of the vehicle and carry the name of temperature and wind for InSight (TWINS),
provided by the Centro de Astrobiología in Spain.
TWINS will be used to tell the team when strong winds could interfere
with small seismic signals. But this
could also be used, with InSight cameras, to study the amount of dust
and the sand blows around. Scientists do not know how much wind it takes to lift the dust
in the thin atmosphere of Mars, which affects the formation of dunes and dust storms – including
dust storms around the planet, like the one who passed last
year, effectively ending the mission of the rover Opportunity.
APSS will also help the mission team to learn about the dust
devils who left streaks
on the surface of the planet. The dust devils are essentially low pressure
swirl, so that the InSight air pressure sensor can detect the moment when it is in close proximity. His
very sensitive – 10 times more than Viking and Pathfinder equipment
landers – allowing the team to study the dust devils from hundreds of feet
"Our data already showed that there was a lot of dust
devils to our location, "Banfield said. Having a pressure sensor so sensitive allows us to see more than
passing them through. "
JPL manages InSight for NASA
Direction of scientific missions. InSight is part of NASA's discovery program,
managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center of the agency in Huntsville, Alabama.
Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its
cruising and lander stage, and supports the spaceship operations for the mission.
A number of European partners,
including the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) and the German Center
Aerospace Center (DLR), support the mission InSight. CNES and the Institute
of the Physics of the Paris Globe (IPGP) provided the seismic experiment for
Internal Structure Instrument (SEIS), with important contributions from the
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the
Zurich Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Imperial
College London and Oxford University in the UK, and JPL. DLR
provided heat flux and physical properties package (HP3) instrument, with
contributions from the Center for Space Research (CBK) of the Polish Academy of
Science and Astronika in Poland. Spanish Astrobiology Center (CAB)
provided the temperature and wind sensors.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California