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Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm

Dragon
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Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm Empty Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm

Post by Dragon Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:06 pm

Updated at 2:25 p.m. PDT on July 26, 2018

It's the beginning of the end for the planet-encircling dust storm on Mars. But it could still be weeks, or even months, before skies are clear enough for NASA's Opportunity rover to recharge its batteries and phone home. The last signal received from the rover was on June 10.

Scientists observing the global event -- which is actually caused by a series of local and regional storms throwing dust into the Martian atmosphere -- say that, as of Monday, July 23, more dust is falling out than is being raised into the planet's thin air. That means the event has reached its decay phase, when dust-raising occurs in ever smaller areas, while others stop raising dust altogether.

Continued...
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Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:08 pm

Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm PIA22521-800x600
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU

This series of images shows simulated views of a darkening Martian sky blotting out the Sun from NASA’s Opportunity rover’s point of view, with the right side simulating Opportunity’s current view in the global dust storm (June 2018).

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Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:11 pm

Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm Pia22329anno-16
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This global map of Mars shows a growing dust storm as of June 6, 2018. The map was produced by the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. The blue dot indicates the approximate location of Opportunity.

Source / Image Courtesy


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Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:15 pm



The storm is one of the most intense ever observed on the Red Planet. As of June 10, it covered more than 15.8 million square miles (41 million square kilometers) -- about the area of North America and Russia combined.

It has blocked out so much sunlight, it has effectively turned day into night for Opportunity, which is located near the center of the storm, inside Mars' Perseverance Valley.


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Opportunity Hunkers Down During Dust Storm 334pu7m
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Post by Dragon Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:18 pm



The rover is halfway down in "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater, pursuing hypotheses as to the origin of the valley.

Opportunity is positioned near some tabular rocks and is prepared to do some close-up study.


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