Predicting weather conditions and climate for Mars expeditions

Read, P. L.; Lewis, S. R.; Bingham, S. J. and Newman, C. E. (2004). Predicting weather conditions and climate for Mars expeditions. American Astronautical Society, Scientific Technology Series, 107 pp. 3–21.



Weather and climatic conditions are among the most important factors to be taken into account when planning expeditions to remote and challenging locations on Earth. This is likely to be equally the case for expedition planners on Mars, where conditions (in terms of extremes of temperature, etc.) can be at least as daunting as back on Earth. With the success of recent unmanned missions to Mars, such as NASA's Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey, there is now a great deal of information available on the range of environmental conditions on Mars, from the tropics to the CO2 ice-covered polar caps. This has been further supplemented by the development of advanced numerical models of the Martian atmosphere, allowing detailed and accurate simulations and predictions of the weather and climate across the planet. This report discusses the main weather and climate variables which future Martian human expedition planners will need to take into account. The range of conditions likely to be encountered at a variety of typical locations on Mars is then considered, with reference to predictions from the ESA Mars Climate Database.

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