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Science. 1997 Dec 5;278(5344):1752-8.

The Mars Pathfinder atmospheric structure investigation/meteorology (ASI/MET) experiment.

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  • 1J. T. Schofield and D. Crisp, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA.


The Mars Pathfinder atmospheric structure investigation/meteorology (ASI/MET) experiment measured the vertical density, pressure, and temperature structure of the martian atmosphere from the surface to 160 km, and monitored surface meteorology and climate for 83 sols (1 sol = 1 martian day = 24.7 hours). The atmospheric structure and the weather record are similar to those observed by the Viking 1 lander (VL-1) at the same latitude, altitude, and season 21 years ago, but there are differences related to diurnal effects and the surface properties of the landing site. These include a cold nighttime upper atmosphere; atmospheric temperatures that are 10 to 12 degrees kelvin warmer near the surface; light slope-controlled winds; and dust devils, identified by their pressure, wind, and temperature signatures. The results are consistent with the warm, moderately dusty atmosphere seen by VL-1.

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