Two years of weather at Gale Crater

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The Curiosity science team has released the weather data they have gathered during the rover’s two Martian years spent in Gale Crater.

The temperatures have ranged from a high just below freezing to lows around minus 120 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    I assume you left out “minus.”

  • I did. Thank you for mentioning.

  • Alex

    Fairly cold there, extreme temperature variations this desssert with a nearby vacuum (compared to what is required to sustain life). I am accepting ideas for Mars settlement (realized in thousand years from now?) only if somebody presents a detailed, deeply scientific rooted plan to me how Mars is transformed in an Earth-like environment. However, there does not exist even such a scientific branch as terra-forming up to now in reality.

  • Max

    Interesting, it has a variation of a150° from day to night. What little atmosphere it has does make a difference. Our moon has a 550° variation, Mercury has 1100° variation, Venus has “no variation” even though it’s rotational period (10 months) Is longer that it’s revolution around the sun (nine months)
    Trivia question; if you could see the sun from the surface of Venus, how long from one dawn to the next?

    The best terraforming ideas at this time are in science fiction novels. The most detailed I have read it’s a three-part series called red mars, green Mars, blue Mars.
    The simplest answer to your question of terraforming is that mars does not have enough mass to retain a sizable atmosphere. It would be a lost cause and would be better to focus on domed cities or underground establishments. Even if we could produce a heavier atmosphere like chlorine fluorine and carbon (CFCs) this would allow people to walk on the surface without spacesuits, and it will not freeze, it is not harmful to breathe, but every person would need to carry their own oxygen.
    The suns radiation would eventually break down the CFCs creating a different problem and returning Mars to its present form.

    The best planets for terraforming would be Venus first for its capacity to grow food. Next would be Saturn… It has only 10% more gravity than earth. It has more surface area, and it would be beautiful to look up at the sky at night. Uranus and Neptune could also be done at the same time with the same methods. They have similar gravity to earth.
    If extremafile bacteria could do to Saturn what it did to ancient earth, removing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen and water, Saturn would end up being a Waterworld. The leftover atmosphere may end up being too thick and cause to much heat, but perhaps will have methods to overcome these obstacles in the thousands perhaps millions of years it takes the terraforming process.
    By far,The most likely candidate to live on in the nearest future is the moon. It’s close, Low gravity, thermal to create power cheaply, and the outer crust facing earth is missing exposing the core for the mining of needed building materials and metals. Mirrors reflecting sunlight could melt the sand into glass to build cities.
    A few Extertal fuel tanks filled with construction materials and equipment used in the space shuttle program is all we need to get the project started. A vertical landing with airlocks accessible for Bigelow blowup living quarters for starters…. Electric rail gun launching system could be set up with reentry capsules for emergencies that the Lunar colony can’t handle. ( The moon is harsh mistress). Now I’m dreaming again….

  • Edward

    The last part of “The Case For Mars” by Robert Zubrin discusses terraforming and colonizing Mars. Although we do not have actual examples of terraforming, Zubrin has thought out his proposed process so that it sounds plausible. He uses knowledge that we already have to make his case for success. I recommend checking out this book at the library.

    This 5-minute video is a quick look at what some think it takes to terraform Mars, but with a little warming, the CO2 in the ice caps would be released, thickening the atmosphere and helping to keep the planet warmer, perhaps warm enough for plants near the equator.

    We may be able to grow crops and live there in a way somewhat similar to the way we live in Antarctica — except we would have to carry around our own oxygen.

    I don’t expect that Mars will ever be a popular vacation spot.

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    To add mass to Mars, nudge asteroids with a lot of iron content out of the asteroid belt and send them crashing into the planet. Size and velocity of the asteroids would need to be carefully considered to avoid destroying the planet, and to slow its orbit bringing it closer to the Sun. Next, add water and more mass with a comet. It might be necessary to add another moon in order to spin up a magnetic field. Probably a million-year project even if the technological issues could be solved, and a way found to pay for it.

  • Alex

    Dear Mr. Williams, the scenario that you have described is a task for Gods not for man.

  • Max

    The answer to the trivia question about Venus sunrise to sunrise is 4 1/2 months. Because it rotates backwards. If a lighter than air city was to float in the upper atmosphere, it would take two days to circle the planet. The Air currents maybe too strong to establish an air ship Colony.

  • Wayne

    I can’t resist–
    Star Trek original series, season 3 episode 21 “The Cloud Minders.”

  • Wayne

    D K Rögnvald Williams:

    Trump will make Mexico pay, for the terraforming of Mars. (problem…solved.)

  • Alex

    Max: Best approach would be to throw a large Saturian ice moon at Venus in order to bring water to the planet (140 m in average in case of Enceladus and to push large part if its atmosphere into space. For this objective it would fine to devide the moon into several parts before impact. Maybe some rotation is also induced.

  • Max

    Yes, but I don’t remember it well. (I have always identified with Spock and watch the show after school every day)
    But I do remember Star Wars “Empire strikes back” cloud city…

    Funny, he may even think about it… Trump always thinks big.
    As for Trump building the wall, I have hundreds of coworkers. Many of them are Mexican nationals. When I asked them about it, one said “just need a bigger ladder” another said he came to United States through a tunnel. Which made another one laugh and said he had a visa and just flew here and stayed with friends. Later he flew his family up as well.(from Guatemala) Another said he chartered a fishing boat to the sea of Cortez and picked up his family.
    The point being, if he could build a wall around the entire country… It wouldn’t be enough.

    Capturing a moon and moving out of it out of its orbit is possible, but perhaps not very practical.
    Nuclear power plants can convert the ice surface into high-pressure thrust that at first can stop the moon from rotating, as it is moved faster to remove it from orbit of Saturn into a collision course with Venus. (it would not lose any mass due to the Refreezing of the vapor exhaust and supplementing it back to the surface again)
    It would be better to have it deaccelerate with a slingshot maneuver around the sun, but that would evaporate the surface and have nothing left but a beautiful comet. The collision won’t change its momentum by much but it would push much of the atmosphere into space to be blown away by the solar wind. The hypercanes would destroy most of the surface and the impact crater would glow for years.
    Is the consequences worth it? Perhaps, it is how life became possible on this planet.
    The ice on this moon isn’t necessarily water (H402). Ice is a generic term for many types of gases that are frozen. The ice on this moon is most likely NH3 (ammonia) CH4 (methane) and CO2 (carbon dioxide)… But we won’t know until we test it. They are practicing with probes that can melt through the ice layers. (they have melted through the atarctic ice shelf to test Lake Vostock to see what was captured their millions of years ago… It’s the largest freshwater lake in the world)
    Venus already has the ingredients for water. All it needs is “life” to eat the carbon dioxide, release the oxygen, which will recombine with the hydrogen in methane to make H402. This will make the planet livable.
    Venus has 90 earth atmospheres, if all of it is converted into water, which it will not, is the equivalent mass of a half a mile of water.
    The problem is Venus is too hot for life. Unless a bioengineered organism that has a built-in lighter than air breathing sack so it can stay suspended in the cool upper atmosphere… Or perhaps a billion Mylar balloons carrying a load of seading organisms. Bacteria that produce methane, or hydrogen sulfide could keep the balloon a loft… Just theories, experimentation is necessary for verification.
    The bacteria on the bottom of the ocean near volcanic vents don’t need sunlight. And are heat resistant. If bioengineering can increase their metabolism, these may work well.

  • Wayne

    Interesting thoughts! Always intrigued by your proposals!

    Ref the ST episode (Cloud Minders) –it’s a hopeless morality-play-tale, but an OK episode. (not the worst, not the best.) It’s a commentary-tale of our Civil Rights movement during the 1960’s.

    -They need a valuable mineral (which, is dug by hand) that is only mined on the surface– the dust therein causes the surface-dwelling miners to “lose IQ points.” [they become retarded] Despite their affliction, they are engaged in attempting to overthrow the Cloud Dwellers.
    – Meanwhile the Masterminds who run the planet, live in a cloud-city that is permanently levitated by some unexplained process, and they never get their hands dirty mining. (They just Party 24/7365.) (Surprisingly similar to our own Masterminds, “we work, they eat.”)
    -Kirk & Spock discover the ore causes the surface-dwellers to become stupid, McCoy develops a portable filter-unit for the miners & Kirk convinces the Cloud People (in the last 12 minutes) that everyone should live together in Peace and Harmony.
    Problem solved, Ore obtained, vital Mission successful, two opposing Faction’s United.

    -As for illegal immigration and “walls,” 40% of ALL the illegal aliens in the Country, are Visa overstays. They lied to enter the Country legally & then just vanish into the interior.

    -Under current law, they are supposed to be found & deported, and then barred from re-entry anywhere from 2 years to ‘life’. (Trump however, supports immediate touch-back amnesty. Proving he knows little of how illegal or legal-immigration actually works (or doesn’t work.) )

    -If we exclusively dealt with just the Visa-overstays, 1/2 half of our illegal immigration problem would be solved. No new laws or “deals” required.
    -Securing the border, both North & South, is of course vital to our sovereignty. Last I heard from Trump however, the mythical Wall cost was at $12 billion, up from the $4 billion he originally claimed.
    (Such a great negotiator he bid up his own price, as-if he would be personally handing out Contracts to his Crony friends.)

  • Steve Earle

    Just because a wall won’t solve 100% of the problem doesn’t mean you give up and don’t build one. The point is to make it as difficult as possible to enter illegally.

    The Visa violators are a different problem which of course the wall wouldn’t help with, but as Wayne said above, could be solved.

    The point is that Illegal immigration is a multi-faceted problem and must be dealt with on several levels. If you only concentrate on one you undermine the entire effort. By the same token if you ignore even one aspect, you also undermine (in some cases, literally, as Max’s coworker mentioned LOL)

    IMHO the simplest, most effective policy would be to shut off the demand. Fine employers one hundred thousand dollars per illegal found to be working for them.

    In addition, also fine or fire every public employee that grants public welfare benefits of any kind to any illegal.

    Do those two things and the problem would mostly solve itself overnight.

    Of course the issue with that is there is no political will to even enforce existing fines and laws, let alone new ones……

  • Wayne

    Excellent Point’s!
    (“multi-faceted” is a key thought. Along with “no political will.” The elephant in the room.)

    To reiterate your thoughts–Lesson the demand on our side–sanction employers, enforce borders–adequate barriers, do not tolerate “sanctuary cities,” get the Feds off the back of Border States, enforce our already existing Visa laws, no “Benefits” what-so-ever unless you are a Citizen, and actually deport criminal aliens.

    Seriously– 40% of the illegal’s in the Country, are a direct result of Visa-overstays. They lied at the US Embassy in their home Country when the applied for any of the 400 Visa categories’ & then they lied again at Entry. We know who they are, we just don’t know where they are or what they are doing.

    Deal with Visa over-stays & cut off the demand for low-skilled workers, –drops the problem to a very manageable level, as you say, overnight. Turns more into a criminal justice/border-patrol issue, rather than National & Economic-Security issues.

    Building a $12 billion dollar “Trump Wall” is just an obfuscation of the real issues in play that drive, maintain, and nurture massive illegal immigration.
    If we just did common-sense stuff & enforced existing law, this wouldn’t be a major issue.

  • Edward

    Crashing an entire moon into a planet is not terribly productive for terraforming, but mining it and jettisoning the tailings into the atmosphere would allow for the desired increase in mass/water as well as usable materials for the terraforming process or for orbital/surface colonization.

    Something like a mass driver could be used to send the mass into the planet in small chunks that would not leave huge, glowing craters or blast the atmosphere into space. The same mass driver could be used to propel the moon into the target planet’s orbit, to begin with.

    Mexico may even be able to afford a mass driver, for those of you who want to make them pay. [For the sarcasm-challenged, like me, that was sarcasm.]

  • wayne

    Mexico is already paying for the wall. I’ve advocated Albania pay for the Trump Massive Telescope (TMT) , and France reimburse us for the repairs done on the Statue of Liberty. Everyone else is fair-game. [sarcasm alert]

    Does this mass-driver need to be located in any (‘ideal’) specific place?

  • Edward

    Generally, a mass driver or any other thruster would want to push toward the center of mass. However, an asteroid/moon’s rotation can be slowed or stopped by thrusting “off center” for a while.

    As mass is mined from near the mass driver, it may be necessary to relocate the device to a more stable area or an area with fresh mass to drive.

  • Max

    Thank you, I remember it now. In fact I’ve been using the term troglodyte since I was in grade school because of this ST show.(it sounded more intellectual than caveman or Neanderthal)

    Every country in the world has had to deal with immigration/migration at one point or another. Their methods range from the brutal like the Iron Curtain or Mexico’s south border, to the indifferent like Canada or the current European situation. They have their reasons, and usually severe unattended consequences from their actions.
    Like most of you, I do not like seeing people get freebies. To have so much without working for it. Paying heavy taxes while others pay no taxes at all. Talking constantly about taking everything we have so that we can all be equal? This leads us to make rash decisions based upon emotion rather then think of the consequences. Actions that politicians make For popularity reasons.
    If we stop freebies, for example, soon it will be hungry mobs cleaning out the stores before the police can get there. Soon, we would be like Venezuela. Even if you have money there’s nothing you can buy… Just in the time Obama has been in office, Venezuela has gone from the number one economy in South America to the worst with 700% inflation. The murder rate is through the roof. All because they ignored the lessons learned by the Romans who ruled for over 1000 years that people need bread and circuses.

    America has a new Marquis. Those who hand out the welfare are the true welfare recipients because they do not produce anything but consume so much and they all think they are entitled to so much more. (That’s why our taxes keep going up.)
    As long as they have the Power to keep us off balance with emotional redirection they’ll be able to keep what they take untell they take it all… That’s when they’ll realize that they have nothing. And the pendulum swings back.
    China has implemented chip technology, every person with a cell phone must have the persons real identity. They also utilize face recognition software to catch anyone who comes from the outer districts illegally. Whom ever they bride for their legal or illegal documentation is punished severely. This may be our future. NSA have been collecting a database on everyone whom passes in front of a camera. Nearly everyone in every civilized country is accounted for with the history trail. They know who you are, the future is now, we’ll see what they do with the information. We already know some of what they’re doing with it now, and we don’t like it. Building a wall seems silly now doesn’t it?

  • Wayne

    -Interesting thoughts.

  • Max

    I can hardly wait to hear your comments on the CBS New series “STAR TREK” starting in 2017. Just think, new quotes for us all.
    ( I hope they don’t kill it with political correctness)

  • Wayne

    HAR… awaiting the new reboot with trepidation! (I as well, am afraid they will go completely PC nuts, with it.)

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