This is the first image showing clouds of Mars taken from the lander.
Click on image for full size
Image from: JPL/NASA
Weather found by Mars Pathfinder
This is the first image showing clouds of Mars taken from the lander. Ground based viewing of Mars has shown that clouds seem to be plentiful only in the middle latitudes As early as 1796 scientists were reporting "yellow", and "white" or "bluish" clouds in the Martian atmosphere. With data from the Mariner 9 mission, scientists could finally prove that the clouds were made of water. It is known that there are weather patterns on Mars which resemble terrestrial storms. It is not known whether rain comes from these storms however!
Mars Pathfinder set out to record the same kind of temperature and pressure data which is used to diagnose the weather on Earth. Mars Pathfinder also recorded cloud patterns for study later. Some of these can be viewed in the Image Archive below. Mars Pathfinder found the weather on Mars to be variable. There were light winds (16-35 km/hr - compare these speeds with those on the Earth), gusting both at night and during the day. Cold morning air was warmed by the surface and carried upward, just as it is on Earth. Afternoon temperatures were steady, but the early afternoons were plagued by dust devils, which were repeatedly seen. Dust devils on Mars can sometimes turn into full fledged Global Dust Storms!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!
You might also be interested in:
Unlike the Earth, where clouds are found around the entire globe, on Mars, clouds seem to be plentiful only in the equatorial region, as shown in this Hubble telescope image. This may be because water...more
You might think that clouds in the sky have to be made of water like those of Earth, but this is not always so. Clouds might be made of carbon dioxide or ammonia. Just take a peek at the planets Jupiter...more
The goal of the Mars Pathfinder (MPF) mission was to analyze the rocks and soil of Mars. The MPF was actually 2 parts, a lander and a rover. The lander stayed right where it landed while the rover named...more
These are the findings of Mars Pathfinder. Rounded Pebbles, Cobbles and possible Conglomerates were found - a result from analysis of the landing site, the rocks, and the soils. showed that there were...more
The Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001, from Florida. After a six-month, 285 million-mile journey, the Odyssey arrived at Mars on October 24, 2001. The Odyssey is in its aerobraking phase right now....more
The Mars 2005 mission is still in the planning stages. It is set to launch in the year 2005. ...more
The Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars in September of 1997. But it didn't make it into its final mapping orbit until February 1999. What took so long? Surveyor needed to reach a near-circular, low-altitude...more