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MRO MARCI Weather Report for the week of
19 December 2011 – 25 December 2011

Captioned Image Release No. MSSS-203 — 28 December 2011

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

Martian weather between 19 December 2011 and 25 December 2011:

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.

It was a tumultuous time for the weather on Mars this past week, as dust storm activity once again picked up with full force. The week began with large dust storms in Aonia and Cimmeria. The Cimmeria storm picked up steam and headed north towards the equator, even getting into Gusev Crater a bit mid-week, but dying out completely by the end of the week. The Aonia storm traveled east and exploded northward when it hit Argyre and the Nereidum Montes, even sending dust into eastern Valles Marineris. That storm also died out by the end of the week, but left some lingering dust haze in eastern Valles Marineris. Then mid-week a couple of new dust storms formed in Tempe and Acidalia, which then proceeded to loft dust up and over the seasonal and residual north polar caps, as well as to send dust southward through Acidalia and Chryse for several days. The storm was reduced to just dust haze by the end of the week. Water ice clouds were present over the major shield volcanoes throughout the week, as well as along the seasonal north polar cap edge and in Aonia. The MER-B Opportunity rover in Meridiani Planum saw only partially cloudy skies throughout the week, despite all of the other activity going on.

This week’s MARCI “movie” can be downloaded HERE (9.1 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 circle on these images of Mars indicate the location of the Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity (on Meridiani Planum). 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

To cite the image(s) and caption information in a paper or report:
Malin, M. C., B. A. Cantor, M. R. Kennedy, D. E. Shean and T. N. Harrison (2011), MRO MARCI Weather Report for the week of 19 December 2011 – 25 December 2011, Malin Space Science Systems Captioned Image Release, MSSS-203,

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.