What is Winter Like on Mars?

Dr. Tanya Harrison
5 min readDec 31, 2018

It’s not only winter in the northern hemisphere here on Earth—it’s also winter in the northern hemisphere of our Red Planet neighbour.

Frost on the martian plains of Utopia Planitia imaged by the Viking 2 lander in May 1979. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Tanya Harrison

At the time of writing this, the solar longitude on Mars is 315°. Solar longitude, written shorthand as Ls (said aloud as “L sub S”), is a way we keep time on Mars. It’s a measure of where Mars is in its orbit around the sun in terms of a 360° ellipse, marking the current season…

Dr. Tanya Harrison

Professional Martian. Geoscientist. Former operations team member for Opportunity, Curiosity, & the Mars Recon. Orbiter. Views = my own.