NASA obtains first weather report from rover’s Mars landing site

NASA engineers have received the first weather report from the Jezero crater on Mars, where the agency’s Perseverance rover landed in February.

The rover’s Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) system returned data on atmospheric conditions that will be used to inform future efforts.

As the measurements were received, the rover team determined that the surface temperature on the Red Planet was just below minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit when the MEDA system began recording on February 19, a day after landing.

That temperature dropped to minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit in half an hour, according to a statement Tuesday.

Additionally, the MEDA radiation and dust sensor showed the crater to have a clearer atmosphere than Martian Gale Crater about 2,300 miles away.

They compared the reading to reports from the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed inside Gale Crater in November 2011.

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MEDA pressure sensors also noted that the pressure on Mars was within a predictable range of 718 Pascals.

While NASA has a relative understanding of Mars’ climate, also receiving data from the InSight lander temperature and gain sensors (TWINS), the prediction of dust storms and dust uplift will aid exploration. future.

Over the next year, MEDA will provide NASA with readings of the intensity of solar radiation, cloud formations and winds, dust cycles, heat flows and temperature cycles.

MEDA, which contains environmental sensors, wakes up every hour to register more, regardless of Perseverance operations.

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It is able to record the temperature at three atmospheric heights and also records the radiative balance near the surface.

“We are very happy to see MEDA functioning properly,” Manuel de la Torre Juárez, deputy principal investigator for MEDA at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement.

“MEDA reports will provide a better picture of the environment near the surface. Data from MEDA and other instrumental experiments will reveal more pieces of the puzzle on Mars and help prepare for human exploration. We hope its data will help strengthen our designs and missions to be safer, ”he added.

In the coming days, NASA will use MEDA to determine the best atmospheric flight conditions for the Ingenuity Mars helicopter.


Ingenuity is expected to take off no earlier than April 11 after surviving the first of its freezing nights on Mars.

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Dale D. Schrum