Curiosity's onboard weather station, which is called the Remote Environment Monitoring Station(REMS), has measured air temperatures as high as 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius) in the afternoon. And temperatures have climbed above freezing during more than half of the Martian days, or sols, since REMS was turned on, scientists said.
These measurements are a bit unexpected, since it's still late winter at Gale Crater, the spot 4.5 degrees south of the Martian equator where Curiosity touched down on Aug. 5.
"If this warm trend carries on into summer, we might even be able to foresee temperatures in the 20s [Celsius], and that would be really exciting from a habitability point of view," Gómez said. "In the daytimes, we could see temperatures high enough for liquid water on a regular basis. But it’s too soon to tell whether that will happen or whether these warm temperatures are just a blip.”