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We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.
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 just what the temperatures are. The measurements were taken by Mars Pathfinder as it decended through the nighttime air and landed on the surface. The graph shows that where Pathfinder landed (at night), near the surface, the temperature was 170 oK (-150 F - brrrr). In the middle of the atmosphere the temperature got a lot colder, if that is possible, at 70 oK (-333 F)! Then, at the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere the temperatures got a lot warmer, becoming 150 to 300 oK (-190 to 80 F). These temperatures sound almost comfortable. 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.


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Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games section of our online store includes a climate change card game and the Traveling Nitrogen game!

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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The Martian Ionosphere

The Martian ionosphere is a layer of gas that is very high up above Mars. It extends from about 75 miles up to several hundred miles up above the surface. It is shown by the shaded region circling the...more

Martian Clouds

Unlike the Earth, where clouds are found around the entire globe, on Mars, clouds seem only to be found near the equator, as shown in this Hubble telescope image. This may be because water of Mars may...more

Mars Odyssey

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Mars 2005

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Aerobraking

Aerobraking slowed the Mars Global Surveyor down when it reached Mars. Aerobraking also helped MGS to get into the right orbit for mapping the surface of Mars. Aerobraking means that the MGS flew through...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Olympus Mons

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. This instrument is called an altimeter, or "altitude-meter". The graph to the left shows the results returned from Mars...more

Mars Global Surveyor Measures Martian Global Hemispheres

Mars Global Surveyor carries an instrument which measures the heights of things. The picture to the left shows Mars Global Surveyor's measurement of the size of the giant cliff which separates the southern...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF