The Martian Chronicles: First Pictures of the Night Sky and Past Weather Forecast

This year, Mars exploration is especially intense. Thanks to data from the Perseverance rover, we learn something new about the existence of the Red Planet almost every day. So, the other day the camera of the rover managed to take a picture of the starry Martian sky. The images are captured by a camera that is part of the rover’s smart meteorological system – MEDA or Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer… It helps study the climatic conditions on Mars by monitoring and recording all data on a daily basis.

Mars sky

Snapshot of the Martian sky

MEDA includes SkyCam – an updated version of the camera Hazcam… The camera faces the sky – hence its name.

Here are the main characteristics:

  • the field of view is more than 120 degrees;
  • type of optics – “fisheye”;
  • focal length – 5.6 mm;
  • frame transmission time – 5.1 s.

SkyCam / NASA

The camera has two main tasks:

  1. Get an image of the clouds floating across the sky of the Red Planet.
  2. Measure aerosol optical thickness in the atmosphere.

Simply put, the camera needs to capture the sky at different times to study clouds and dust. Now, with the help of the camera, it was possible to observe and fix the starry sky of Mars.

The pictures were taken between 01:10 and 01:13 Martian time. The stardust-strewn image shows traces of heavy charged particles and a bright spot. Scientists suggest that the stain is Phobos – one of the two satellites of Mars.

SkyCam / NASA

Mega-functional MEDA

MEDA Is a system consisting of a control unit and environmental sensors for recording the properties of dust and other atmospheric parameters. Tracked metrics are needed to track meteorological data on Mars.

The system and sensors are located on the mast, deck at the front and inside the hull of the rover.


General characteristics MEDA:

  • the total weight of the system is 5.5 kg;
  • power <17 W, depends on planned measurements;
  • the system contains 5 sensors measuring 5.75×2.75×6.75 cm;
  • the control unit of the device and the pressure sensor are 14x14x13 cm.

MEDA sensors monitor the following indicators:

  • wind strength and direction;
  • air and surface temperature of the planet;
  • relative humidity;
  • Atmosphere pressure;
  • the total number and size of dust particles in the atmosphere.

Weather on Mars /NASA

Perseverance is now located in Jezero Crater in the Isidis Planetia region of Mars’ northern hemisphere. He regularly measures the weather there. This place is now mid-spring.

Weather data from MEDA /NASA

MEDA not only records the data it receives, it records all of it throughout its entire service life. The system turns on every hour, day and night, fixes the parameters and then goes into sleep mode again.

Among other things, MEDA evaluates the dustiness of Mars, helping to identify patterns in this process. It also measures radiation on the Red Planet.

The study of astrobiology is one of the main objectives of the Perseverance mission. Therefore, the task of the rover is to investigate the signs of ancient microbial life and past climate. In the future, using the data obtained, they plan to learn how to predict the weather on Mars. This is important for future missions.

What else is visible on Mars

Sky images are not the only thing that the Perseverance rover instruments manage to capture. He recently conveyed there are some unusual shots to Earth. The images show rock samples from Mars.

A source

In one of the pictures you can see the similarity brachiosaurus – a dinosaur with an elongated neck.

A source

Another picture shows an almost symmetrically split stone, around which there is an almost closed ring of stones of different sizes.

A source

An image of a shiny object was also obtained, the origin of which is unknown. It can be seen in the photo if you look closely at the lower third.

I am glad that the new rover is sending so much data – thanks to them, it is possible to learn a lot about the future colony of humanity, and literally every day. If everything goes smoothly, then people will fly to the planet they know like the back of their hand. In this case, there will be much less unpleasant surprises than if humanity sent its representatives to a poorly studied object.

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