MSL Temperature Change From 1.5 Meters AGL to the Ground

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Updated 4/8/2014

This article looks at the variation between air and ground temperature for 500 sols (Martian days) at MSL Curiosity from landing to Sol 570 on March 14, 2014. For the missing days there was no data reported. The initial assumption was that with the thin atmosphere generally accepted (before our research began) the daytime rate of heat loss between the ground and the mast at a height of 1.5 meters above ground level would be fairly consistent with little variation. Likewise the ground would cool faster than the air at night and this would also be consistent. It was hypothesized that a large amount of variation especially at night would suggest a more complex atmosphere with a higher density than what NASA claims. In fact, as Table 1, its supporting graphs and data show, during the days there was a standard deviation of 5.63 °C (about 13.05 °F) in general heating of the ground as attention shifted from the mast to the ground where it was about 12 °C warmer, and during the night there was a standard deviation of about 9.1949 °C (16.55 °F) in general cooling (with notable exceptions at sols 34,123,192,215, 310, 466, 486, 489, 501, 513, and 537) as attention shifted from the mast to the ground where it was about 7.774 °C cooler. However, the ground temperatures are not very precise. Ground temperature were supposed to be recorded with a thermopile on Boom 1 (which suffered some damage on landing). Assuming that Guy Webster (JPL P.R.) was correct when he told me that only the wind sensor was damaged on Boom 1, the ground temperature sensor was supposed to view the Martian surface to the side of the rover through a filter with a passband of 8 to 14 microns. The requirement was to measure ground brightness temperature over the range from 150 to 300 K with a resolution of 2 K and an accuracy of 10 K. REMS has made a number of changes to ground temperatures they post since they began doing so in 2013.
 
                                                        TABLE 1
 

DAY OR NIGHT

MEAN MAX

AIR TEMP (DAY) OR MINIMUM (NIGHT)

MEAN MAX GROUND TEMP °C

(DAY) OR MINIMUM (NIGHT)

STANDARD DEVIATION IN MAX AIR TEMP °C (DAY) OR MINIMUM (NIGHT)

STANDARD DEVIATION IN MAX GROUND TEMP (DAY) OR MINIMUM (NIGHT)

MEAN DIFFERENCE AIR TO GROUND °C

 

STANARD DEVIATION

°C

DIFFERENCE AIR TO GROUND (All sols)

DAY

-11.89

1.16

10.21

12.84

13.05  

5.63

NIGHT

-74.838

-82.612

9.167

9.1949

-7.774

7.21

 

Figure 1 above is based on REMS data published before April, 2014. Table 2 shows data that has been revised since then, so the graph will change slightly. Figure 2 below is based on Table 3 where further revisions (on going) by the REMS Team may not yet be shown).


CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE DURING DAYLIGHT AT MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY BETWEEN AIR AT 1.5 METERS ABOVE GROUND LEVEL AT THE GROUND. We have caught the REMS Team/JPL changing this data on many occassions. The snapshot on Table 2 was taken on April 8, 2014 - about a month after the data for the night differences were put onto the Table 3 below it. Column D shows some the major maximum air temperature revisions caught. Previous high pressures were consistently revised downward or cut altogether on the new Table 2. Thus Sol 370 had its pressure of 1149 Pa reduced  to 865 (the value for sols 369 and 371), while Sol 192 had its presssure  of 940 cut altogether. Also cut were Sol 200 (pressure 937 Pa), and Sol 262 (pressure 900 Pa). Sol 462 with a pressure of 877 Pa was also apparently cut because the pressure was expected to be between 905 and 906 Pa. REMS/JPL seemed determined to keep pressures on the expected curve. Divergent pressures were simply not tolerated, especially after we pointed out these pressures to JPL public relations man Guy Webster.

       The salmon color on the Table 2 denotes temperatures at or above the freezing point of water. The ground temperature sensor was only designed to have a resolution of 2 K and an accuracy of 10 K. When the daytime increase in temperature from the mast (air temperature 1.5 meters above ground level) to the ground was twice that (20 K/20°C) or more we used a light blue color to highlight it.

TABLE 2

A

B

C

D

E

F

SOL

PRESSURE

NEW

ORIGINAL

MAX

DAYTIME

PASCALS

MAX AIR

PUBLISHED

GROUND

INCREASE IN

 

TEMP °C

MAX AIR

 TEMP °C

TEMP °C AIR

 

 

TEMP °C

 

TO GROUND

10

739

-16

 

8

24

11

740

-11

 

9

20

12

741

-18

 

8

26

13

732

-15

 

8

23

14

740

-16

 

9

25

15

740

-15

 

8

23

16

740

0

 

9

9

17

742

-4

 

7

11

21

741

-3

 

7

10

22

742

-6

 

8

14

23

741

-16

0°C

9

25

24

742

-7

 

6

13

25

743

-11

 

6

17

26

745

-14

2°C

6

20

27

743

-15

-1

5

20

28

745

-15

 

5

20

29

747

-2

 

7

9

30

747

-3

 

6

9

31

745

-23

-3

2

25

33

748

-2

 

5

7

34

748

1

 

6

5

35

749

-1

 

6

7

36

750

-1

 

7

8

37

750

0

 

7

7

38

750

-13

-3

8

21

39

751

-8

 

7

15

40

753

-12

2

8

20

41

753

-12

2

8

20

42

754

-7

5

7

14

43

756

-12

3

9

21

44

757

-10

4

13

23

45

758

-9

3

11

20

46

758

-12

4

13

25

47

758

-9

6

14

23

48

759

0

 

12

12

49

761

-10

4

10

20

50

761

-10

0

11

21

51

762

-7

3

13

20

52

762

-7

7

12

19

53

764

-5

5

11

16

54

766

-9

5

10

19

55

766

-2

 

11

13

56

768

-4

 

10

14

57

769

-3

 

12

15

58

769

-3

 

11

14

59

771

-1

 

11

12

60

772

-2

 

12

14

61

772

-2

 

13

15

62

774

-1

 

11

12

63

775

0

 

12

12

64

776

0

 

12

12

65

777

-2

 

12

14

66

778

-2

 

12

14

67

780

-6

 

13

19

68

781

-2

 

12

14

69

778

0

 

12

12

70

783

-1

 

13

14

71

784

-2

 

12

14

72

785

-2

 

12

14

73

788

0

 

13

13

74

790

-5

 

13

18

75

791

-1

 

13

14

76

792

-1

 

15

16

77

792

0

 

15

15

78

793

0

 

14

14

79

795

-1

 

14

15

80

796

-3

 

14

17

81

798

-2

 

13

15

82

799

0

 

14

14

83

801

0

 

15

15

84

801

0

 

15

15

85

805

-1

 

15

16

86

808

-4

 

15

19

87

808

-2

 

15

17

88

811

-2

 

15

17

89

813

-1

 

16

17

90

813

0

 

16

17

91

817

-1

 

16

17

92

820

-1

 

15

16

93

819

-1

 

16

16

94

822

0

 

16

16

95

822

0

 

15

15

96

826

2

 

15

13

97

828

-3

 

15

18

98

828

-1

 

15

16

99

829

-1

 

14

15

100

829

-1

 

13

14

101

830

-2

 

16

18

102

833

-3

8

17

20

103

836

-3

 

19

22

104

838

-5

 

18

23

105

839

-6

 

17

23

106

841

-8

 

17

25

107

844

-5

 

17

22

108

845

-4

 

17

21

109

844

-3

 

16

19

110

848

-5

 

17

22

111

849

-4

 

18

22

112

852

-8

5

18

26

113

857

-6

 

16

22

114

857

-6

 

18

24

115

857

-8

 

17

25

116

859

-6

5

18

24

117

861

-5

 

18

23

118

864

-6

4.53

18

24

119

866

-6

 

19

25

120

867

-3

 

16

19

121

869

0

 

9

9

122

869

-3

 

3

6

123

875

-10

2.1

2

12

124

876

-5

5.4

6

11

125

880

-5

 

7

12

126

880

-4

 

7

11

127

884

-1

 

7

8

128

883

-3

 

6

9

129

886

-2

 

6

8

130

888

-9

 

5

14

131

889

-8

 

6

14

132

890

-6

 

5

11

133

891

1

 

6

7

134

893

-1

 

7

8

135

894

-5

 

8

13

136

897

-1

 

7

8

137

896

-1

 

8

9

138

899

-1

 

8

8

139

899

0

 

9

9

140

903

-2

 

8

10

141

904

-2

 

8

10

142

906

0

 

8

8

143

908

-2

 

8

10

144

907

2

 

7

5

145

909

-1

 

7

8

146

908

-1

 

8

9

147

914

0

 

6

6

148

912

-3

 

5

8

149

914

0

 

4

4

150

913

-3

 

6

9

151

915

-3

 

5

8

152

914

1

 

6

7

153

915

1

 

4

3

154

917

-2

 

4

6

155

917

0

 

4

4

156

922

0

 

5

5

157

920

-2

 

5

7

158

922

-3

 

4

7

159

918

-4

 

5

9

160

919

-3

 

6

9

161

919

-2

 

5

7

162

919

-1

 

7

8

163

919

-1

 

6

7

164

919

-1

 

7

8

165

922

-3

 

4

7

166

922

-5

 

4

9

167

920

-3

 

6

9

168

923

1

 

7

6

169

922

0

 

6

6

170

925

0

 

5

5

171

925

1

 

6

5

172

923

0

 

6

6

173

920

0

 

6

6

174

921

0

 

7

7

175

921

-4

 

6

10

176

920

0

 

6

5

177

921

-1

 

5

6

178

920

-2

 

8

8

179

920

-7

5

5

12

180

919

-1

 

6

7

181

918

1

 

6

5

182

921

0

 

7

7

183

921

-1

 

6

7

184

923

0

 

6

6

185

923

-5

 

7

12

186

922

-2

 

5

7

187

921

-1

 

7

8

188

920

-3

 

7

10

189

920

-2

 

6

8

190

917

-3

 

7

10

191 (192 was 940 Pa)

921

-3

 

7

10

196 (195 was 886 Pa)

916

-3

 

7

10

197

915

-3

 

5

8

198

914

-2

 

6

8

199 (200 was 937 Pa)

917

0

 

4

4

223

895

-5

 

6

11

224

894

-1

 

6

7

225

894

-8

 

7

15

226

894

1

 

6

5

227

892

4

 

7

3

228

894

-3

 

7

10

229

894

-4

 

7

11

230

888

0

 

7

7

231

890

-6

 

7

13

232

888

-5

 

6

11

233

889

-3

 

6

9

234

890

-4

 

5

9

235

886

0

 

7

7

236

886

-3

 

6

9

237

883

-5

 

6

11

238

885

-2

 

7

8

239

885

-1

 

5

6

240

884

-6

 

5

11

241

884

0

 

5

5

242

881

-7

 

6

13

243

884

-7

 

5

13

244

878

-6

 

7

13

245

879

-6

 

6

12

246

878

-1

 

6

7

247

873

-4

 

6

10

248

877

-4

 

3

7

249

873

-3

 

5

8

250

877

-2

 

5

7

251

876

-2

 

7

9

252

874

-8

 

5

13

253

877

-6

 

5

11

254

871

-3

 

4

7

255

877

-5

 

6

11

256

871

-2

 

5

7

257

871

-1

 

5

6

258

869

-9

 

6

15

259

871

-3

 

6

9

260

875

-11

 

2

13

261 (262 was 900 Pa)

868

-4

 

4

8

268

864

-5

 

2

7

269

866

-3

 

2

5

270

863

-6

 

2

8

271

864

-6

 

2

8

272

864

-5

 

-1

4

273

861

-4

 

-1

3

274

861

-2

 

-1

1

275

860

-6

 

-1

5

276

858

-4

 

0

4

277

857

-4

 

-1

3

278

855

-3

 

-1

2

279

856

-5

 

-1

4

280

856

-4

 

0

4

281

855

-2

 

0

2

282

856

-2

 

-1

1

283

854

-4

 

1

5

284

854

-3

 

-1

2

285

852

-5

 

0

5

286

854

-2

 

-1

1

287

856

-3

 

-1

2

288

854

-4

 

0

4

289

854

-3

 

0

3

290

853

-3

 

0

3

291

853

-4

 

0

4

292

853

-1

 

-1

0

293

850

-4

 

0

4

294

852

-4

 

0

4

295

853

-15

 

-1

14

296

850

-9

 

1

10

297

849

-7

 

2

9

298

850

-3

 

3

6

299

851

-8

 

-1

7

300

852

-8

 

-2

6

301

852

-6

 

-4

2

302

850

-3

 

1

4

303

849

-8

 

1

9

304

848

-6

 

1

7

305

847

-5

 

1

6

306

848

-8

 

2

10

307

851

-8

 

-3

5

308

850

-5

 

-1

4

309

848

-7

 

-2

5

310

849

-9

 

-2

7

311

846

-8

 

-2

6

312

845

-11

 

-1

10

313

849

-14

 

2

16

314

848

-11

 

2

13

315

850

-10

 

3

12

316

851

-16

 

2

18

317

849

-4

 

2

6

318

849

-4

 

3

7

319

847

-3

 

4

7

320

846

-4

 

3

7

321

847

-5

 

3

8

322

849

-5

 

3

8

323

847

-6

 

4

10

324

850

-8

 

8

16

325

847

-8

 

6

16

326

848

-5

 

5

10

327

848

-8

 

7

15

328

847

-5

 

8

13

329

847

-7

 

7

14

330

848

-5

 

8

13

331

848

-3

 

6

9

332

849

-5

 

4

9

333

849

-5

 

2

7

334

852

-6

 

1

7

335

852

-7

 

5

12

336

852

-8

 

4

12

337

853

-7

 

3

10

338

848

-7

 

3

10

339

849

-8

 

3

11

340

851

-6

 

5

11

341

852

-6

 

4

10

342

851

-7

 

2

9

343

850

-11

 

2

13

344

851

-6

 

2

8

345

853

-7

 

3

10

346

853

-7

 

1

8

347

851

-9

 

2

11

348

850

-8

 

1

9

349

852

-12

 

-1

11

350

853

-6

 

0

6

351

853

-12

 

-4

8

352

854

-9

 

-3

6

353

855

-8

 

-4

4

354

857

-13

 

-1

12

355

857

-7

 

-1

7

356

856

-7

 

-1

6

357

857

-7

 

-1

6

366

861

-12

 

-3

9

367

862

-9

 

-2

7

368

863

-9

 

-3

6

369

865

-9

 

3

12

370 (was 1149 Pa)

865

-9

 

-1

8

371

865

-11

 

-3

8

372

866

-9

 

2

11

373

866

-8

 

0

8

374

866

-8

 

0

8

375

867