Technology & Science

How cold is it on Mars? Now you can track the red planet's weather online

NASA's newest lander is offering daily reports on the red planet's frigid winter. The space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is posting the highs and lows online, along with wind speed and atmospheric pressure from the InSight lander. In its most recent update, InSight recorded a high of -17 C and a low of -95 C.

NASA's newest lander is offering daily reports on the red planet's frigid winter

Starting Tuesday, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is posting the high and low temperatures on Mars online, along with wind speed and atmospheric pressure from the InSight lander. (NASA/ Associated Press)

If you think the temperature swings in your part of the country are bad these days, rest assured: they don't even approach those on Mars. As of Tuesday, you can track them and compare.

NASA's newest lander is offering daily reports on the red planet's frigid winter.

The space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is posting the highs and lows online, along with wind speed and atmospheric pressure from the InSight lander.

To give you a rough idea of what it's registered already, on Sunday — its most recent date available —InSight recorded a high of -17 C and a low of -95 C. 

NASA said InSight is designed to collect and send back these daily weather reports for the next two years, so that scientists can study seasonal changes.

"It gives you the sense of visiting an alien place," said Cornell University's Don Banfield — who leads InSight's weather science — in a release. "Mars has familiar atmospheric phenomena that are still quite different than those on Earth."

But there is a bigger goal, too. Scientists need to know the local Mars weather to determine if InSight's seismometer is registering real earthquakes on Mars (also known as marsquakes) or simply wind or pressure changes. 

InSight landed near the Mars equator in November. NASA's Curiosity rover also gives weather updates, while roaming around Mars about 550 kilometres away. 

An image taken by NASA's InSight Mars lander using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC). Scientists need to know the local Mars weather to determine if InSight's seismometer is registering real earthquakes on Mars (also known as marsquakes) or simply wind or pressure changes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout/Reuters)

With files from CBC News