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Temperatures of the Martian atmosphere as deduced by Mars Pathfinder.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA.

Mars Atmospheric Temperature Profile, from Mars Pathfinder

The temperatures in the atmosphere of Mars are doggone cold! This is a graph which shows the temperatures measured in the atmosphere by Mars Pathfinder as it decended through the nighttime air and landed on the surface. The temperature of the atmosphere is listed on the bottom of the graph, and the altitudes where the temperatures are found within the atmosphere are listed along the leftmost edge. The graph shows that near the surface where Pathfinder landed (at night) the temperature was 170 oK (-150 F), in the middle of the atmosphere the temperature got a lot colder, at 70 oK (-333 F), and at the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere the temperatures ranged from 150 to 300 oK (-190 to 80 F). This region of the atmosphere is called the ionosphere, or sometimes the exosphere. It is the region of the atmosphere closest to space, and is the one which is first exposed to the sun's rays.

Compare the temperatures in these different regions of the atmosphere to those of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA