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Space & Astronomy

Mars dust storm has encircled the entire planet

June 23, 2018 | Comment icon 85 comments



This selfie taken by the Curiosity rover shows the dust-filled sky. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The dust storm that left the Opportunity rover out of commission is now classed as 'planet-encircling'.
The storm, which began to kick up swirling clouds of red dust at the end of last month, is now so extensive that the entire planet has been surrounded by it, NASA scientists have revealed.

While the Opportunity rover, which relies on solar panels, remains in low power mode, Curiosity, which is powered by a radioisotope battery, is still going strong, providing a unique opportunity for scientists to study the dust storm from the surface of the planet.

As the days go on, the sky has been steadily darkening and it is uncertain how long the storm will last. Some dust storms on Mars have been known to continue for months.
Learning as much as possible about severe weather on the Red Planet is particularly important as any data collected during the storm could prove invaluable for future human explorers.

Scientists believe that heat is the primary driving force behind such storms.

"If you have sunlight that reaches the surface and heats it up, that creates an instability where warm air rises up," said planetary scientist Tanya Harrison. "On Mars, there's so much of this loose dust lying on the surface that when you have these upward winds, they take a lot of the dust with it."

Source: Sky and Telescope | Comments (85)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #76 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
That's rather the problem. The dust storm ended a month ago and the rover hasn't emerged squeaky clean.
Comment icon #77 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
What, you think Martian dust doesn't have "sticky" chemical dynamics? Think again.
Comment icon #78 Posted by flabbins 4 years ago
All that money and time and they forgat to kit it out with wipers!
Comment icon #79 Posted by Truth_Be_Damned 4 years ago
It was a joke which came from videos like these..
Comment icon #80 Posted by Truth_Be_Damned 4 years ago
I believe what we are told, is not as truthful as it should be. Especially when those 'truth tellers' have their paws in the never ending tax payer cookie jar.†
Comment icon #81 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
What do you feel is not "truth"? NASA and Company are extremely professional organizations comprised, in part, of people like you or I. Where is the "lie"?
Comment icon #82 Posted by ChrLzs 4 years ago
Isn't it even more strange, though, 'TruthbeDamned' and 'flabbins', that those of us who are really into space travel and understand why/how spacecraft are designed, think that Opportunity was†in fact, very, very well designed for its†purpose?† How did Nasa convince us, do you think? There are plenty of serious engineering and space forums out there - do you see anyone other than the odd Conspiracy Theorist without much knowledge of either Mars or solar panel design and operation, complaining? And finally, and most importantly, how long has that rover lasted on Mars? (Hint -†5,250 days) How lo... [More]
Comment icon #83 Posted by Truth_Be_Damned 4 years ago
My first post was not even hinting at or directed at the rover, or any object made, designed, thrown, or exploded by NASA. So you may get off your†'engineer high horse' and go parade it somewhere else. I never wanted to be a chemist or engineer due to the hubris, not for its ease in obtaining a degree. I feel NASA has hidden things from the public, how much? We may never know. Even the Smithsonian buries artifacts deep into their warehouses that may disrupt the narrative of the past. They try to say they do this so the people, religions, and civilizations do not get disrupted. The fact that th... [More]
Comment icon #84 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
People, before this gets too far off topic and down the well trodden "are NASA liars" path may I remind you that we have a forum for conspiracy theories and such a conversation would be better served there. Thank you.
Comment icon #85 Posted by It's Just An Opinion 4 years ago
It didn't have a passport to enter Mars so it's under arrest and pleads the fifth.†


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