Geology/Mars Climate Report
The weather for the rest of the week looks pretty consistent with minimal wind and sun. Erosion features can be seen in the hills near the HAB. This time-lapse photography comes in handy here on “Mars” because we can use this analogue Mars terrain to study how the ancient geologic features could have formed on Mars. Melting snow and ice along with precipitation could have caused these features we see on Mars. The debate that still rages with planetary scientists and climatologists is: was the ancient climate of Mars “warm and wet” as opposed to today’s “cold and icy” climate? Where was ice distributed? The obliquity of the planet (the spin axis) may have been drastically different and thus the ice may have migrated over time.
Instead of having to go down to the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica to study these processes on Earth, we can study them here in this Mars-like environment to get a better understand of them. This in turn will tell us about the ancient climate of Mars and how it has evolved over time to the present day.
Max/Min: Outdoor Temp – 11 F – 38 F
Outdoor Humidity – 30% – 62%
GreenHab Temp – 21 F – 91 F
GreenHAB Humidity – 18% – 30%
Barometer – 29.75 – 29.94 inHg
Wind – 3.5 mph, gust – 4.5 mph
Solar Rad. Max – 385.2 W/m^2
UV Index – 743 uW/cm^2
Recorded Precipitation today – 0.00 in
We know the atmospheric pressure at “sea level” on Mars is around 0.6% the pressure on Earth. This would mean that a 50 mph breeze on Mars would hardly be noticeable and that the beginning of the movie The Martian is inaccurate. It would take winds of unimaginable strength to knock a rocket over like that.
Since Mars is around 1.5X further from the sun the incident solar radiation would be around 2.25X reduced if we neglect the atmospheres (r^2 dependence for solar flux). However, the Martian atmosphere is much thinner and is of a different composition, so we’re not totally in the hole. This will bode well for solar panels on the surface but the atmosphere will have a different absorption pattern than Earth’s.
Submitted by Connor Lynch – Crew Geologist/Astrophysicist