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Professor To Predict Weather On Mars

Professor To Predict Weather On Mars

Is there such a thing as "weather" on Mars? There are some doubts, considering the planet's atmosphere is only 1 percent as dense as that of the Earth.

Mars, however, definitely has clouds, drastically low temperatures and out-of-this-world dust storms.

Istvan Szunyogh, a Texas A&M professor of atmospheric sciences, was recently awarded a NASA grant to analyze and forecast Martian weather.

Mars is the most Earth-like planet we know, but it is still quite different. For example, it is much colder on Mars.

The south pole of the Earth is covered by water ice, but the south pole of Mars wears a dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) cap. In winter, the temperature at the poles can dip to -140C (-220 degrees Fahrenheit), which is so cold that even carbon dioxide freezes.

"Planet-encircling Martian dust storms, which occur every two to four Mars years, can cover the whole planet with dust for months," notes Szunyogh, who is working with colleagues from the University of Maryland and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J., to forecast Martian weather.

Why care about weather on Mars? After all, nobody lives, works or goes to school there.

Weather On Mars

"Istvan Szunyogh, a Texas A&M professor of atmospheric sciences, was recently awarded a NASA grant to analyze and forecast Martian weather. (Credit: Image courtesy of Texas A&M University)"

Source: Texas A&M University



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