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MRO MARCI Weather Report for the week of
16 December 2009 – 20 December 2009

Captioned Image Release No. MSSS-101 — 23 December 2009
http://www.msss.com/msss_images/2009/12/23/


NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems


Martian weather between 16 December 2009 and 20 December 2009:

The MARCI acquires a global view of the red planet and its weather patterns every day. Please click and play the Quicktime movie (.mov file) to see how the weather on Mars changed during this time.

After a successful December 15 instrument turn-on, MARCI is once again acquiring daily global mosaics of the martian atmosphere and surface.

We are now well into northern spring (Ls 26), and dust storm activity is picking up in the northern hemisphere. Numerous dust storms were observed near the seasonal north polar cap edge (presently ~60N) throughout the past week. Several of these storms lifted a substantial amount of dust that travelled northward and coalesced over the residual north polar cap. By the end of the week, the residual and seasonal north polar caps were almost entirely obscured by dust, although some signs of dissipation were observed on 12/20/09. Several smaller short-lived dust storms were also observed in the south mid-latitudes. Water ice clouds were present throughout the week in the north and south mid-latitudes, over the Tharsis volcanoes, and in Elysium. The skies above the MER rovers were clear all week aside from a few tenuous water ice clouds.

This week’s MARCI “movie” can be downloaded HERE (6.5 MB .mov file).

Earlier Mars Weather Reports are available HERE.

About the Quicktime Movie:
The movie (a .mov file that you can click and play, above) was generated from images obtained by the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). During a nominal operational week, a total of about 273 MARCI images, taken in three of the camera’s seven color filter bands (420, 550, and 600 nanometer wavelengths), are map projected and mosaiced together to produce seven false-color daily global maps. These maps are then projected onto a sphere with north at the top and east to the right and with the mid-afternoon vantage point of an observer in the orbital plane (the imaginary plane that the planet draws out as it circles the Sun). Black areas in the movie are the result of data drops or high angle roll maneuvers by the spacecraft that limit the camera’s view of the planet. Equally-spaced blurry areas that run from south-to-north (bottom-to-top) result from the high off-nadir viewing geometry, a product of the spacecraft’s low-orbit, 250 km x 316 km (155 miles x 196 miles). The movie is rendered at a lower resolution than the intrinsic 1–2 km nadir resolution that the MARCI provides, so that it is practical to view and share via the Internet. The small white circles on these images of Mars indicate the locations of the two Mars Exploration Rovers, Opportunity (on Meridiani Planum) and Spirit (in Gusev Crater). Other locations on Mars referenced in the weather report can be found by referring to the map below. Note that the still image of Mars depicted at the top of this page is a single frame from the Quicktime movie.

Reference Map — Martian Place Names Commonly Mentioned in Mars Weather Reports simple cylindrical map of Mars with various place names indicated
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

Citation and Credit
The image(s) and caption are value-added products. MSSS personnel processed the images and wrote the caption information. While the image(s) are in the Public Domain, NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS requests that you credit the source of the image(s). Re-use of the caption text without credit is plagiarism. Please give the proper credit for use of the image(s) and/or caption.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
—or—
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

To cite the image(s) and caption information in a paper or report:
Malin, M. C., B. A. Cantor, D.E. Shean, M.R. Kennedy, and T.N. Harrison (2009), MRO MARCI Weather Report for the week of 16 December 2009 – 20 December 2009, Malin Space Science Systems Captioned Image Release, MSSS-101, http://www.msss.com/msss_images/2009/12/23/.


Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) built and operates the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Mars Color Imager (MARCI) and Context Camera (CTX). MSSS also built and operated the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC). In addition, MSSS built the Mars Odyssey (ODY) Thermal Emission Imaging Spectrometer (THEMIS) Visible (VIS) camera subsystem, which shares optics with the thermal infrared instrument and is operated at Arizona State University (ASU). MSSS also built the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) for the Phoenix Mars Scout lander and the suite of high resolution cameras aboard the 2009 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). MSSS is currently working on cameras for the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission and the 2011 Juno Mission to Jupiter.