What's the weather on Mars? How NASA's InSight lander will find out
By Sarah Lewin
December 18, 2018, 10:53:35 AM EST
NASA's new Mars lander isn't quite ready to probe the Red Planet's interior yet, but it's starting to get the lay of the land on the surface — and in the atmosphere. The InSight lander is already deploying its powerful meteorology package to monitor the Red Planet's weather.
InSight touched down on the Martian surface Nov. 26, and since then it has been carefully analyzing its environment and setting up its sensitive suite of instruments. The mission's seismometer still sits on the lander's deck, measuring InSight's vibrations rather than the planet's, and the heat-sensing mole remains undeployed as well. But the lander's meteorology suite is already gearing up to measure the pressure, temperature and three-dimensional wind patterns on the Red Planet.
Part of that suite — the pressure sensor — played a starring role in new "sounds from Mars" recently released by the InSight team. That sensor and the seismometer both caught the vibrations of wind rushing across the instrument deck and the seismometer's protective cover.
"We're still getting our feet underneath us on this mission, but it's fun to put out some of this early stuff that keeps us excited," said Don Banfield, a co-investigator on InSight's science team and researcher at Cornell University.
"It's actually a bit surprising how much science you can extract from these instruments, even when they're in a configuration they aren't finally intended to be," he told Space.com.
More Weather News
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 7:59:19 PM EST
A major winter storm moved across the Midwest and Northeast this weekend, blanketing areas of the region with snow and bringing some of the coldest temperatures of the season.
After the storm: Dangerous stretch of subzero AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures to grip northeastern US
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 11:02:59 PM EST
A polar plunge of brutal cold has descended on the northeastern United States, which can threaten lives and complicate travel and cleanup efforts following the weekend snowstorm.
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 3:40:01 PM EST
A quick-hitting shot of snow to start the new week across the Rockies will be enough to cause travel issues but a fresh base for the ski resorts.
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 3:38:27 PM EST
A brief surge of warmer air at midweek will be accompanied by a storm that brings drenching rain and the risk of urban flooding, but also areas of ice on the front end.
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 12:05:57 PM EST
A storm will affect the Midwest with areas of snow, ice and rain as air changes hands from frigid conditions to mild and back to cold at midweek.
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 10:25:17 AM EST
Out of season rain moving into northwestern India this week may improve air quality in areas from New Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Lucknow.
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 3:01:45 PM EST
A major winter storm continues to create travel nightmares and a risk of power outages in the northeastern United States with an ice storm across southern New England and feet of snow to the north.
Reports: Ice storm creates treacherous travel in New England as temperatures plummet across snow-covered Northeast
Weather News - January 20, 2019, 6:40:48 PM EST
The snowstorm that caused nearly a thousand flights to be canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is expected to bring difficult and dangerous travel to a large swath of the Northeast through at least Sunday.