|Goals: Mission Design
Goal 2: Characterize the Climate of Mars
[more on Goal 2 for the entire Mars Exploration Program]
Recorded in the structure and mineral content of Mars' rocks and
soils are signs of the environmental conditions under which the
materials were formed and altered. Detailed studies of rock
samples with the rover instruments will reveal climate details
of Mars´ past, which may have been warmer and wetter. In addition, one science instrument
will periodically look up to gather temperature profiles of the
atmospheric boundary layer - the layer of atmosphere
from the surface up to 10 kilometers (6 miles) in altitude.
This part of the atmosphere cannot be well observed
by orbital instruments, and the data returned will provide
important basic information for understanding the current
climate on Mars.