Environmental predictions for the Beagle 2 lander, based on GCM climate simulations

Bingham, S.J.; Lewis, S.R.; Newman, C.E. and Read, P.L. (2004). Environmental predictions for the Beagle 2 lander, based on GCM climate simulations. Planetary and Space Science, 52(4) pp. 259–269.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2003.12.001


The Mars climate database (MCD) is a database of statistics based on output from physically consistent numerical model simulations which describe the climate and surface environment of Mars. It is used here to predict the meteorological environment of the Beagle 2 lander site. The database was constructed directly on the basis of output from multiannual integrations of two general circulation models, developed jointly at Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, and the University of Oxford, UK. In an atmosphere with dust opacities similar to that observed by Mars Global Surveyor, the predicted surface temperature at the time of landing (Ls=322°, 13:00 local time), is 267 K, and varying between 186 and 268 K over the Martian day. The predicted air temperature at 1 m above the surface, the height of the fully extended Beagle 2 robot arm, is 258 K at the time of landing. The expected mean wind near the surface on landing is 5 ms−1 north-westerly in direction, becoming more southerly over the mission. An increase in mean surface pressure is expected during the mission. Heavy global dust storm predictions are discussed; conditions which may only occur in the extreme as the expected time of landing is around the end of the main dust storm period. Past observations show approximately a one in five chance of a large-scale dust storm in a whole Mars year over the landing region, Isidis Planitia. This statistic results from observations of global, encircling, regional and local dust storms but does not include any small-scale dust "events" such as dust devils.

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