Mars Climate Sounder
Mars Climate Sounder, one of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's six science instruments, is performing a detailed, systematic study of Mars' weather and climate. Mars Climate Sounder is the first science investigation at Mars that is capable of performing a "4-dimensional" study (three spatial dimensions and time) of the key properties of Mars' atmosphere. Since Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter began its science operations in November 2006, Mars Climate Sounder has been acquiring vertical profiles of the temperature, pressure, dust, and clouds of the lower 80 kilometers (50 miles) of Mars' atmosphere. An intermittent error that first appeared in December 2006 has occasionally plagued instrument operations, but as of March 2009 had disappeared. Now that Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is in its extended mission, Mars Climate Sounder is gathering climate data from its second Mars year of operations, allowing it to study how the climate varies from year to year. As it did in 2007, Mars Climate Sounder is now closely watching the development of the late southern spring's occasionally planet-encircling dust storms. Just after Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars, Mars Climate Sounder captured a unique portrait of the spacecraft's instrument deckand many of its other science instruments. The Planetary Society is an education outreach partner on Mars Climate Sounder and is proud to be a part of this next phase of Mars exploration.
Mars Climate Sounder Updates
May 16, 2012 is the third martian anniversary of the start of Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) observations from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. MCS started measuring the atmosphere of Mars three Mars years ago, on September 24, 2006. We can now compare the weather and behavior of the atmosphere in three different years, and find the temperature differences to be surprisingly large.
Posted by Jim Shirley on 2011/10/25 12:00 CDT
A daily cycle of cloud formation in the Martian tropics during northern summer is driven largely by solar radiation and the associated solar thermal tide. Models predict a striking pattern of cloud formation above the high altitude volcanoes of the Tharsis region. At mid-day, the atmosphere is typically free of clouds due to elevated temperatures. Beginning in the early evening hours, atmospheric cooling at altitudes above 20 kilometers begins to foster water ice cloud formation. During the night, the altitude of cloud formation descends closer to the surface.
Posted by David Kass on 2010/09/29 12:00 CDT
Two weeks ago Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) started a four-week campaign to support entry, descent, and landing phase for the next Mars rover, Mars Science Laboratory (or "Curiosity").
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2010/08/26 12:00 CDT
One of the instruments on a 2016 mission to orbit Mars will provide daily maps of global, pole-to-pole, vertical distributions of the temperature, dust, water vapor and ice clouds in the Martian atmosphere.
Posted by David Kass on 2010/07/13 12:00 CDT
June 29, 2010 was the second Martian anniversary of the start of Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) observations at Mars.
Posted by David Kass on 2009/03/31 12:00 CDT
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2008/03/10 12:00 CDT
Last week Mars Climate Sounder collected its 20 millionth sounding at Mars. Mars Climate Sounder is scanning without problems, collecting science observations of the atmosphere of Mars. Mars Climate Sounder has now been observing Mars for over 17 months (three quarters of a Mars year and also approximately three quarters of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter primary science mission).
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2007/04/03 12:00 CDT
Two months after the start of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's primary science phase, the Mars Climate Sounder instrument has already acquired more than four million soundings, building toward a vast data set on the three-dimensional structure of Mars' atmosphere over the full Martian year of the orbiter's nominal mission.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/02/07 11:00 CST
They are Watching the Skies for You!
Our researchers, worldwide, do absolutely critical work.
Asteroid 2012DA14 was a close one.
It missed us. But there are more out there.