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Story HighlightsCuriosity rover scientists offer a first weather report from the Red PlanetTemperatures swing from 0 to 130 degrees at Gale CraterDust devils have twice whirled over the rover since its landing
Dust devils have twice whirled over NASA's Curiosity rover, mission scientists said Thursday in a first weather report from Mars.
Winds predicted to be swirling around and inside Gale Crater, which is where NASA Curiosity rover landed on Mars. Curiosity current location is marked with an "X." The rover sits within a broad depression between the mountain dubbed "Mount Sharp" to the Giuseppe Zanotti Mens Red
southeast and the Zanotti Sneakers Men White rim of Gale Crater on Mars.(Photo: NASA/JPL Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS)
Dust devils seem to occur in mornings, though rarely, as the Martian air, less than 1% as thick as Earth's atmosphere, grows warmer. Sudden pressure drops and wind direction shifts accompany the dust devils. Manuel de la Torre Juarez of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena says Jimmy Choo Miami Trainers White
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Radiation on Mars fluctuates, less during the day and is about half what the rover experienced while it was in space on its way to Mars. Although far more intense than radiation on Earth's surface, "absolutely, astronauts can live in these conditions," says mission scientist Don Hassler of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. Space station astronauts see similar radiation doses, for example, Hassler says. "It's never been a question of 'can we go to Mars'. It is a question of how can we best protect our astronauts when we get there."
Welcome to Mars, where dust devils swirl, nighttime temperatures drop to 130 degrees, and radiation is about half as bad as it is in space.
The $2.5 billion rover, which landed Aug. 5 on Mars inside Gale Crater, has tracked the Martian weather for the past 90 days.
Winds on Mars swirl over Curiosity
"It's sort of mid October on Mars," JPL's Ashwin Vasavada says. Temperatures range from 130 F at night to above 0 during the day, he says. Because the rover rests on the southern hemisphere of Mars, temperatures have grown warmer and the atmosphere thicker, as carbon dioxide frozen as ice melts on the planet's South Pole with spring's approach.
"Gale Crater is a very interesting place for winds," says mission scientist Claire Newman of Ashima Research in Pasadena, Calif. After examining wind speed and direction, the team found that wind swirls in a "moat" around the mountain in the center of the crater, informally designated as Mount Sharp.
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