Mars is about to get a new stream of weather reports, once NASA’s Perseverance rover touches down on Feb. 18, 2021. As it scours Jezero Crater for signs of ancient microbial life, Perseverance will collect the first planetary samples for return to Earth by a future mission. But the rover will also provide key atmospheric data that will help enable future astronauts to the Red Planet to survive in a world with no breathable oxygen, freezing temperatures, planet wide dust storms, and intense radiation from the sun.
The instrument behind the weather data is called MEDA—short for the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer. Part of its goal is to gather the basics: temperature,