The Dust Storms at Mars Are Being Studied by These Spacecraft

The Dust Storms at Mars Are Being Studied by These Spacecraft

Press Release Science

This last one month has ensured that Mars put on a truly spectacular show in the night sky. This show is about to come to a climax on 27th July 2018 with the Earth set to pass between Mars and the Sun, thus bringing Mars to be at the opposite during the same night, which would bring Mars quite close to the Moon’s total eclipse. Space scientists are having a great time with Mars. Mars is becoming extra bright for everyone due to an event set for 16th September 2018 when it would be at the closest point to the Sun. It has also created conditions wherein a storm all throughout the planet of Mars has been on for more than a month.

It has not been good news for the Opportunity Rover of NASA, as the dust storm has led to a drop in the level of visibility because Opportunity Rover runs on solar energy. Hence the scientists were forced to suspend their activities for preserving the batteries of Rover.

The other spacecraft, which is The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has got two instruments to study the dust storm. Every day, the Orbiter’s Mars Color Imager maps the whole planet during mid-afternoon for tracking down the exact evolution of the storm. On the other hand, the instrument known as Mars Climate Sounder helps to measure precisely how the Mars atmosphere’s temperature changes along with altitude.

The MAVEN orbiter has been revolving around Mars for the last 4 years, since 2014. Since the time the orbiter had gone inside the Mars’ orbit, they all have been waiting for the global dust storm to take place.

The MAVEN has not been carrying out the study of the dust storm only; instead, the whole team intends to study precisely how the dust storm affects the upper atmosphere of Mars. Most of the space crafts of NASA are investigating the dust storm right from the top but right now the Opportunity Rover is inoperable.

The good news is that Curiosity is not suffering from the same problem as it does not require solar power to be in operation.