National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Multimedia
Scanning Martian Atmospheric Temperatures
Scanning Martian Atmospheric Temperatures (click to enlarge)
 
 

Scanning Martian Atmospheric Temperatures
Date: 12 Jun 2013

This graphic depicts the Mars Climate Sounder instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter measuring the temperature of a cross section of the Martian atmosphere as the orbiter passes above the south polar region.

The Mars Climate Sounder is an infrared radiometer that can be pointed sideways for detecting temperatures at different elevations above the surface of the planet. Multiple measurements since MRO arrived at Mars in 2006 have provided a record of atmospheric temperatures at different times of day on both the sunlit (daytime) and dark (nighttime) portions of the planet.

The data indicate that temperatures rise and fall not just once a day, as might be expected from simple warming by the sun, but twice, with a rise during the nighttime as well as during daytime. Researchers have identified the cause for this pattern to be the thin water-ice clouds that form in the equatorial region of Mars. The water-ice clouds absorb infrared light emitted from the Martian surface, and that absorption heats the middle atmosphere.

In the graphic, orange and yellow represent higher temperature than green or blue. These results are described in a paper being published by the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 12 Jun 2013