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NASA's Insight; Weather gives us regular weather updates from Insight's location on Mars, an example is shown below. Temperature is of the air around the lander.

Question: But does or has Insight or any spacecraft on the surface of Mars measure the surface temperature of the soil around it as well? Has any had a simple radiometer pointed downwards, either off to the side or directly below, in order to record surface temperature? Do either Curiosity or Perseverance have these?

Latest Weather at Elysium Planitia

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  • $\begingroup$ Does tonight's temperature-measuring mole count? $\endgroup$
    – 0xDBFB7
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @0xDBFB7 for this question I'm primarily interested in "downward pointing radiometers" or similar; non-contact, local surface thermometry from a surface craft. Insight's subsurface probe is designed to return temperatures from below the surface in order to measure heat flow I think, so it wouldn't really suffice. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 21:20

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In fact Perseverance's Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) instrument does measure both air and ground temperatures:

MEDA weighs roughly 12 pounds (5.5 kilograms) and contains a suite of environmental sensors to record dust levels and six atmospheric conditions – wind (both speed and direction), pressure, relative humidity, air temperature, ground temperature, and radiation (from both the Sun and space). The system wakes itself up every hour, and after recording and storing data, it goes to sleep independently of rover operations. The system records data whether the rover is awake or not, both day and night.

Boasting higher overall durability and additional temperature readings, MEDA can record the temperature at three atmospheric heights: 2.76 feet (0.84 meters), 4.76 feet (1.45 meters), and 98.43 feet (30 meters), in addition to the surface temperature.

The range of temperatures reported un the source article us from $-83°C$ to $-22°C$, but these are not specified as air or ground temperatures. Note that the subzero ground temperatures do not imply that all condensed water is frozen on Mars, since some dissolved salts such as magnesium perchlorate may allow water to remain liquid through most of this temperature range.

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    $\begingroup$ So can we say without a doubt that Perseverance has a "downward-pointing radiometers to measure the surface temperature"? I think yes; measuring thermal infrared radiation using the MEDA's TIRS would likely be a downward-pointing radiometer quantifying thermal radiation. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 0:18
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    $\begingroup$ The source article does not mention specific instruments but does claim that some instru ent exists to measure ground temperature. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 0:22

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