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Data-based climate studies started in earnest with the Viking program in 1975 and continue with such probes as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.This observational work has been complemented by a type of scientific computer simulation called the Mars general circulation model.Although Mars is smaller than the Earth, at 11% of Earth's mass, and 50% farther from the Sun than the Earth, its climate has important similarities, such as the polar ice caps, seasonal changes and the observable presence of weather patterns.

Flaugergues also observed in 1813 significant polar ice waning during Martian springtime.The discovery of water-formed minerals on Mars including hematite and jarosite, by the Opportunity rover and goethite by the Spirit rover, has led to the conclusion that climatic conditions in the distant past allowed for free-flowing water on Mars.The morphology of some crater impacts on Mars indicate that the ground was wet at the time of impact.That quick two-day pass (July 14–15, 1965) was limited and crude in terms of its contribution to the state of knowledge of Martian climate.Later Mariner missions (Mariner 6, and Mariner 7) filled in some of the gaps in basic climate information.

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