Mars Dust Storm Covers the Entire Planet

Mars Dust Storm Covers the Entire Planet

But none of that takes away the opportunity for our science to uncover mysteries of the red planet, as the other rover named Curiosity is still in works.

The specialists reported that, despite receiving a signal from the Martian exploration star-mobile, the control of the mission on Earth does not expect to hear until the skies begin to clear over it.

"The current dust storm is more diffuse and patchy; it's anyone's guess how it will further develop, but it shows no sign of clearing", NASA stated.

"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", NASA officials wrote in an update Wednesday.

NASA says the Martian dust storm has "blotted" out the view of the sun from the rover, which uses solar panels to provide power and to recharge its batteries.

The dust storm in Mars has engulfed nearly the entire planet as haze levels reach the highest in history.

Monster storms like this came to the planet beforehand, in 2001 and 2007.

Curiosity should be able to cope with the dust storm better than Opportunity. Also, the red planet lacks in the system of nature on our planet, some of which stand out to keep storms from being spread globally. A Martian dust storm has reduced sunlight and visibility at the rover's location in Gale Crater. India's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft is also in orbit.

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Despite the severity of the current storm and its yet unknown duration, NASA is still hopeful the battered Opportunity rover might survive after all.

More: NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars silenced by intense dust storm. The atmosphere is so thick with dust, "accurate measurements are no longer possible for Mars' oldest active rover".

The dust levels have more than doubled since the weekend with a tau or haze amount of 8.0 measured at the Gale Crater.

NASA scientists say the storm has them asking how these type of storms last for months at a time, while others last only a week. The engineers at NASA have said the vehicle's instruments are not at risk, but its cameras might require more exposure time due to low lighting and dust blowing toward its optics.

New photos from Curiosity show a wall of haze over Gale Crater that is up to eight times thicker than normal for this time on Mars, NASA officials said.

Storms are common in the spring and summer on Mars, but sometimes they remain small and last only a week. This enhances the process by helping suspend the dust particles in the air.

"Each observation of these large storms brings us closer to being able to model these events - and maybe, someday, being able to forecast them", added Rich Zurek, chief scientist for the Mars Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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