While researchers continue to work on techniques to facilitate the colonization of Mars in the coming years, the most massive dust storm on Mars ever is now surrounding the entire Red Planet. This natural phenomenon, considered by NASA scientists to be one of the “most intense phenomena observed” in recent decades, has forced the NASA’s Mars Opportunity Rover to shut down all its systems.
On June 10th, the dust storm reached the position of the Mars Opportunity Rover, leaving the NASA’s solar-powered vehicle without a source of energy. Since then, the NASA research team has not received any signal from the vehicle, which entered into sleep mode. Now, this storm has already reached the Gale crater on the other side of the planet where the other NASA’s vehicle, the Mars Curiosity Rover is situated.
The NASA’s Curiosity Rover’s selfie showing the dust storm on Mars getting closer to Gale Carter
Through a statement published on its website, NASA has announced that the dust storm has reached the position of Curiosity, the other NASA rover studying the Red Planet.
However, the space agency has announced that this SUV will not be affected by the storm because it has a nuclear power battery that allows it to operate day and night.
Over the past few days, Mars Curiosity Rover has been sending photographs of the Mars’ surface, confirming that the dust storm on Mars has grown in size and that it’s now surrounding the entire Red Planet. Among them is a selfie, released a couple of days ago, which shows that the storm has reduced sunlight and visibility in the Gale crater.
The space agency says the dust storm is already about the size of North America and Russia combined. In fact, they claim that the level of dust on the surface has doubled in recent days. A phenomenon that has darkened the planet’s surface to unprecedented levels, as reported by NASA.
The dust storm on Mars is a common phenomenon on the Red Planet
Mars is not the only planet to experience these kinds of storms, but a dust storm of such intensity could never happen on Earth, for example, thanks to our planet’s dense atmosphere, the gravity, and the massive amounts of plants.
However, researchers say dust storms on Mars are frequent, especially during spring and summer, in the southern hemisphere. As the atmosphere warms, the winds generated by the temperature contrasts mobilize small dust particles that drift into the storm.
In some cases, these clouds can reach up to 60 kilometers in height leaving the Red Planet literally in the dark.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.