DISCUSSION: There is no doubt that as the global population continues to increase more and more with time in all four corners of the globe, there is an increasingly larger interest in mankind investigating other planets in terms of both the prospects of the past existence of organic life as well as the prospects of current and/or future organic life. Having said that, one of the biggest recent and ongoing missions for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) is the NASA Insight Mission to Mars in which a state-of-the-art research rover is studying various properties of the “Red Planet.”
More specifically, one of the tools which is functioning on-board this research rover lander happens to be an incredibly highly sensitive seismometer which was designed for picking up internal activity from within the planet’s core. However, a very neat and separate application of this highly sensitive seismometer has been the unique application of using it to recently observe and analyze the progression of air streams (i.e., wind) moving past the rover lander’s recent position. This was detected as a result of the Martian winds blowing past the rover lander’s solar panels and then having the minor movements applied to the rover lander being identified as Martian wind. The recording of this recent Martian wind which was observed is attached in the Tweet which is linked above (courtesy of the NASA Insight and NASA JPL Twitter accounts). This is neat since it just goes to show how there can be minor temperature and pressure gradients across various parts of Mars which could cause occasional breezes (i.e., something akin to what is found on Earth on a calm, sunny day).
This is a neat fact to combine with other upcoming findings from this ongoing NASA Mars Insight mission since this will allow NASA space and atmospheric research scientists to understand more about the current state as well as the past/ancient history of the Martian atmosphere. In addition, this information could also help to dissect as to whether Mars could now and/or in the future be a viable location for harboring life for mankind. There is still a tremendous amount of information which is yet to be garnered from this mission, but the one thing which is almost certain is the reality that there is a plethora of knowledge yet to be gained from this latest in series of past, current, and future research missions destined to study a variety of issues tied to the “Red Planet.”
To learn more about this Mars rover research mission in even greater detail, click here!
To learn more about other interesting space weather topics from the Global Weather and Climate Center, click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz