A global dust storm has engulfed Mars, and NASA says it’s “one of the most intense ever observed.”
The dust storm’s total area is big enough to cover North American and Russia.
From the perspective of NASA’s long-lived Opportunity rover on Mars, the sky is nearly black in the middle of the day.
Mars is not a friendly place to be right now, especially if you’re an aging solar-powered rover.
NASA says a global dust storm is forming. The storm is now about 10 billion acres in size, which is enough to cover North America and Russia, or more than one-quarter of Mars. Some regions of the Martian surface have become so obscured that daylight has turned to darkness.
“The storm is one of the most intense ever observed on the Red Planet,” NASA said in a press release.
Dust storms on Mars start with sunlight. As soil gets warmed up, updrafts form in the thin Martian air and create dust devils, which suck fine dust high into the atmosphere. Over time the dust clouds grow to encompass entire regions, and those regional storms can combine to form globe-engulfing weather events.
During a teleconference on Wednesday, NASA researchers said they expect the storm to wrap around the entire planet within two or three days.
What the Martian dust storm looks like from the ground
From the surface of the red planet, NASA says Mars looks something like this:
The above image is a series of pictures that NASA simulated from the perspective of its Opportunity rover. The pictures show what the sun and sky look like during the brightest time of the day, and they’re based on real photos taken by the rover.
The bright spot is, of course, the sun. It looks somewhat blue due to the composition of …read more
Source:: Business Insider