Curiosity Makes Weird Weather Find on Red Planet
Warm days could point to possibility of life there
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2012 5:15 PM CDT
This image released by NASA on Wednesday Aug. 29,2012 shows Curiosity's wheels after it made its third drive on Mars.    (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – The Mars rover Curiosity has enjoyed surprisingly warm weather lately, a find that could arouse more speculation about the possibility of life on the Red Planet, reports. In this case, warm means up to 43 Fahrenheit—which is unexpected because it's still winter at the Gale Center, where Curiosity landed about 8 weeks ago. "That we are seeing temperatures this warm already during the day is a surprise and very interesting," says Spanish scientist Felipe Gómez.

Curiosity's primary goal is to figure out whether microbial life has ever existed on Mars. Most scientists say it's too dry and cold for life now, but that perception may change if Curiosity enjoys even balmier days throughout the spring and summer. If temperatures climb into the 70s, "that would be really exciting from a habitability point of view," says Gómez. The nights, however, remain on the chilly side—as cold as minus 94 Fahrenheit just before the sun comes up.

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Oct 2, 2012 7:43 AM CDT
Oh no! Who are we humans going to blame for THIS????? There's no factories or cars or flatulating cows there, so we're gonna have to come up with some other way to convince ourselves we did it...
Oct 2, 2012 4:42 AM CDT
i sense a Mars episode of Ice Road Truckers in 3... 2... 1... (decades)
Oct 1, 2012 10:07 PM CDT
This brings to mind that the REMS which delivers this data is only partially functional. There were originally two masts and one was broken during descent. I need to speak with someone from the lab in Spain to find out how solid the info we are getting is. This kind of weather is a bit of a surprise.