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 Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/24 10:19 CDT
The latest HiRISE view of Opportunity, on Endeavour's rim