Section 2.5.1.
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Graph of Planetary Surface Temperatures

Temperatures on Earth, the Moon, and Mars Luna seems to be the Las Vegas of the solar system: it's hot, it's cool, and it doesn't do anything in moderation. In the afternoon near the equator, the surface gets hot enough to boil water. Past midnight on the far side, temperatures drop into the cryogenic regime. Fortunately, just a foot below the surface, the moon is a very constant temperature just below the freezing point of water.

If Luna is Las Vegas, then Mars must be South Pole Station, at least for the inner solar system. In the torrid heat of summer, the hottest spot on the surface gets tantalizingly close to supporting liquid water, but never quite makes it. During its year-long winter, even the warmest regions are at the boundaries of human experience for dealing with cold climates.

Also see the table presenting these same data in the essay on Surface Temperature of the Moon and Mars.


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