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This Cold Snap Is Making It Colder Than the Surface of Mars

There's a pocket of cold air hanging over the eastern states, and it is very cold indeed

smithsonian.com

In northern Minnesota right now, the temperature has dipped to a staggering -42 F. The chill is running so deep in the North Star State that it's not only colder than in the lands above the Arctic Circle, it's actually colder than some of the daily temperatures on Mars—you know, the planet 78 million miles further from the Sun on average.

The source of these freezing temperatures, which are heading to the eastern states over the next couple weeks, is a bubble of cold Arctic air that is pushing south, says Climate Central. “The coldest days in the East this week look to be Thursday through Saturday, with temperatures in northern New England struggling to rise to near zero, and highs in the teens or single digits from Boston to Albany and New York City on Friday.”

For Yahoo!'s Geekquinox, Scott Sutherland gives this chill some extraterrestrial perspective:

[R]oughly 200 million kilometres away, NASA's one-ton, nuclear powered robotic rover Curiosity has been exploring Mars' Gale Crater. Measurements from its REMS instrument (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) have been arriving back here on Earth since shortly after the rover landed in August of 2012. The data only goes up to December 20/21 right now (Sol 489 or Curiosity's 489th Martian day), but over the past month, REMS has been reporting daily high temperatures ranging from -25 to -31 degrees Celsius, and according to the data, -31 degrees Celsius is the coldest daily high the rover has seen since it landed.

In Fahrenheit, -25 and -31 Celsius translates to -13 and -24 degrees.

To be fair, though, Mars is still way colder: the Curiosity rover is driving around in a crater at, roughly, the equivalent latitude of Venezuela.

More from Smithsonian.com:

You Think It’s Cold Out? NASA Just Found the New Coldest Place on Earth

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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