Epic dust storm on Mars now completely covers the Red Planet
By Tariq Malik
June 21, 2018, 5:19:25 PM EDT
Share this article:
On Mars, the sky is dust.
A massive dust storm on Mars that covered one-fourth of the planet just a week ago has grown into a global weather event, NASA officials said Wednesday (June 20).
The dust storm has knocked NASA's Opportunity rover offline for want of sunlight. The agency's nuclear-powered Curiosity, meanwhile, is snapping photos of the ever-darkening Martian sky. The two rovers are on opposite sides of Mars.
"The Martian dust storm has grown in size and is now officially a 'planet-encircling' (or 'global') dust event," NASA officials said in a statement.
The last dust storm on Mars to go global occurred in 2007, five years before the Curiosity rover landed at its Gale Crater site, according to officials with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The Opportunity rover has been exploring the plains of Meridiani Planum on the opposite side of Mars since 2004. During that 2007 Martian dust storm, NASA also lost contact with Opportunity for days due to low power levels from the lack of sunlight.
NASA lost contact with Opportunity last week when it missed a check-in call on June 12. NASA engineers think the rover is in a low-power mode, waking up only periodically to check if its batteries have recharged enough to phone home. All science operations by the rover are suspended while it waits out the storm.
More Weather News
Weather News - November 18, 2018, 12:20:49 PM EST
More than a week after first igniting in Butte County, California, the news surrounding the most destructive and deadly wildfire in California history remains grim.
Weather News - November 18, 2018, 11:32:26 AM EST
The coldest air so far this season will sweep across northern Europe during the first half of this week, bringing the potential for snow to some communities.
Weather News - November 18, 2018, 11:24:24 AM EST
A brewing tropical system in the Philippine Sea will threaten the Philippines with flooding rain, damaging wind this week.
Weather News - November 18, 2018, 8:11:06 AM EST
Cold air holding firm in the northeastern United States into Thanksgiving Day will set the stage for more rounds of snow and slick travel.
Weather News - November 18, 2018, 12:07:18 AM EST
A narrow batch of snow will streak from the central Plains to the lower Great Lakes through Sunday morning, creating areas of slippery travel.
Weather News - November 17, 2018, 6:19:54 PM EST
This weekend will bring one of the last major meteor shows of the year as the Leonids streak across the sky.
Weather News - November 18, 2018, 8:47:40 AM EST
The weather will cooperate for a majority of those traveling by road or air for the Thanksgiving holiday, with a few exceptions.
Weather News - November 18, 2018, 10:30:54 AM EST
As firefighters battle the deadly California wildfires, rain is expected to significantly aid the fight later this week but new dangers may arise for residents and rescue crews.