© 2022 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Yale Researcher Will Attempt To Forecast Weather On Mars

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Researchers at Yale University are looking into what weather is like on planets and moons across the solar system. They’ve found weather patterns on Mars that look a lot like those here on Earth.

Yale researcher Michael Battalio said most of what we know about weather is limited to our home planet.

“We have a good handle on atmospheric dynamics and the weather on Earth. But really, we’ve been fine-tuning all of our models with the sample size of one. We need to expand our horizons and look at the atmospheres of other planets,” Battalio said.

Battalio noticed a pattern in the dust storms on Mars — they tended to repeat about every 20 days.

“This matches at about 20 days or 25 days, a phenomenon that happens in the atmosphere of Earth called the Annular Mode. Storms, like nor’easters for example, in New England, have a repeatability of about 20 days,” Battalio said.

Battalio said this could help NASA — and, eventually, private companies like SpaceX — when they send robots — and eventually people — to Mars.

“And if they are going to do that, which they will — we are explorers, intrinsically, humans — dust storms on Mars could endanger missions. They endanger robotic missions already. So if we want to ensure the safety of crewed missions, we need to be able to understand the weather on Mars,” Battalio said.

Battalio said now he will use these findings to see if he can actually forecast the weather on Mars — when its dust storm season starts later this year.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.