Martian dust storm now envelops entire Red Planet

  21 June 2018    Read: 3434
Martian dust storm now envelops entire Red Planet

NASA’s solar-powered rover Opportunity is facing one of the greatest difficulties of the 14-year mission on the surface of Mars, as a massive dust storm has turned day into night.

A giant dust storm has covered the entire planet of Mars, with dust clouds reaching up to 40 miles high, NASA stated.

"As of Tuesday morning, June 19, the Martian dust storm had grown in size and was officially a 'planet-encircling' (or 'global') dust event. The storm has starkly increased dust at Gale Crater, where NASA's Curiosity rover is studying the storm's effects from the surface," NASA Mars Exploration Rover status report said.

No signal has been received from NASA's Opportunity rover. The craft has gone into hibernation because its solar panels are incapable of providing or recharging its batteries.

The Curiosity rover, however, is nuclear-powered, so it can offer a chance of answering the question regarding the duration of massive dust storms on Mars.

Martian dust storms appear frequently, especially during the planet's spring and summer, when it is closest to the sun, NASA said.

As the atmosphere warms, winds generated at different locations mobilize dust particles the size of talcum powder grains, according to NASA.


More about: NASA