If mankind ever plans on colonizing Mars, the first visitors will benefit greatly from a similar service that offers weather outlooks for the Red Planet. The latest weather forecast, which was provided by InSight on Feb.17, said Mars' surface had a high temperature of 2 degrees Fahrenheit and a low temperature of -138 degrees Fahrenheit.
The seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), is sensitive to air pressure changes and wind, which create movements that could mask actual marsquakes. "Mars has familiar atmospheric phenomena that are still quite different than those on Earth", said Cornell University's Dr. Don Banfield.
An image taken by NASA's InSight Mars lander using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC). Brrr. You can also check out wind speeds and air pressure data for each day. The tool measures changes in local magnetic fields.
Dust devils, or whirlwinds, leave streaks on the planet's surface as they move, and the information gathered by InSight could help scientists study them.
Nasa's Curiosity rover also gives weather updates, while roaming around Mars about 550km away.
TWINS will be used to tell the team when strong winds could interfere with small seismic signals. Several of the sensors used for studying Martian weather are visible on its deck, including the inlet for an air pressure sensor and the east- and west-facing weather sensor booms.
In another surprise, mission scientists are observing many "dust devils" - those ghostly, low-pressure, tornado-like whirls of Martian soil.
"For our mission, APSS will help us filter out noise in our data and know when we're seeing a Mars quake and when we aren't", said Banfield, a principal research scientist in the Department of Astronomy, in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Mars has a much less chaotic weather system than Earth, dominated by a "see-saw" of high and low pressure waves, he explained.