NASA's Curiosity rover captures images of Martian dust storm - Martian dust storm

Rodiano Bonacci
Giugno 21, 2018

Curiosity along with a fleet of spacecraft in the orbit of Mars, will allow scientists for the first time to collect a wealth of dust information both from the surface and from space.

On Wednesday, NASA announced the storm has progressed from a continent-sized tempest to an event that has engulfed the entire red planet. The two rovers are on opposite sides of Mars.

NASA's Curiosity Rover snapped the selfie in the midst of a Martian dust storm last week.

The current storm has starkly increased dust at Gale Crater, where the Curiosity rover is studying the storm's effects from the surface.

The Martian dust storm has grown in size and is now officially a "planet-encircling" dust event. All science operations by the rover are suspended while it waits out the storm.

However, there was still no signal from the Opportunity rover, although a recent analysis of the rover's long-term survivability in Mars' extreme cold suggests Opportunity's electronics and batteries can stay warm enough to function.

It's unknown how long this dust storm will last, though previous Martian dust storms have persisted for weeks to months. And Mars' oceans have long since evaporated away, leaving a vast dust-ridden desert at the mercy of the callous Martian winds.

The last storm of global magnitude that enveloped Mars was in 2007, five years before Curiosity landed there.

"We don't have any good idea", Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said of these storms in a statement.

Regardless, the project does not expect to hear from Opportunity until the skies begin to clear over the rover.

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, say they remain optimistic Opportunity can survive. Guzewich is leading the Curiosity rover's dust storm work. One photo also shows a curious lack of shadows.

While the dust storm won't affect Curiosity's power levels, the low-light conditions are forcing the rover to take longer exposures when it snaps photographs, NASA officials said.

You can get updates about the dust storm, and Opportunity's status, at NASA's Mars Storm Watch page.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE