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Curiosity measures seasol patterns in Mars atmosphere

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Washington, May 14: The local atmosphere in Mars is clear in winter, dustier in spring and summer, and windy in autumn, show measurements by SA’s Curiosity rover that has completed recording environmental patterns through two full cycles of Martian seasons. Curiosity this week completed its second Martian year since landing inside Gale Crater nearly four years ago. The repetition helps distinguish seasol effects from sporadic events, SA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. Each Martian year — the time it takes the Red Planet to orbit the sun once — lasts 687 Earth days. Measurements of temperature, pressure, ultraviolet light reaching the surface and the scant water vapour in the air at Gale Crater show strong, repeated seasol changes, the statement added. Monitoring the modern atmosphere, weather and climate fulfills a Curiosity mission goal supplementing the better-known investigations of conditions billions of years ago. Back then, Gale Crater had lakes and groundwater that could have been good habitats for microbes, if Mars has ever had any. Today, though dry and much less hospitable, environmental factors are still dymic, the statement added. Curiosity measured air temperatures from 15.9 degrees Celsius on a summer afternoon, to minus 100 degrees Celsius on a winter night. (IANS)

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