Meteorological Station – Fast Facts

The Meteorological Station had:

  • A mass of 7.5 kg
  • A vertical lidar instrument for probing the atmosphere
  • A mast with
    • Three temperature sensors at various heights
    • A wind sensor known as a "telltale," which measures wind speed and direction from Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Pressure sensor from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, located on an electronics box beside the MET mast

Lidar Instrument

Station Phoenix

The Phoenix spacecraft and the Canadian components : the lidar and the MET mast thermometers.

About the lidar instrument:

  • First time the technology was used on the surface of another planet
  • Range: up to 20 kilometres (vertical)
  • Frequency of measurements: four times each Martian day, or "sol," for 15 minutes each time
  • Size: 22 by 25 by 35 centimetres, about the size of a shoebox
  • Mass: five kilograms
  • Energy consumption: 40 Watts at peak
  • Wavelengths: 532 and 1064 nanometres

The science goals were to:

  • Track daily weather and seasonal changes
  • Use the temperature and pressure measurements to validate atmospheric models
  • Analyze structure and depth of the atmosphere close to the surface for information on:
    • the location, structure and optical properties of clouds, fog and dust
    • how water is cycled seasonally between ice on the ground and vapour in the atmosphere

About the meteorology mast:

  • Length: 1.14 metres long
  • Mass: 0.85 kilograms
  • Energy consumption: five Watts
  • Frequency of measurements: throughout the entire Martian day