NASA's Curiosity rover captures photos of dust storm on Mars

NASA's Curiosity Rover Captured Martian Duststorm. Here's How It Looks

The rover has not been in contact with the agency for almost 10 days, which has led mission controllers to think that the charge in its batteries has dipped below 24 volts and it has entered a low power fault mode - a sleep sort of mode wherein all the subsystem except mission clock stop working.

Whereas, rover Curiosity is nuclear-powered and is still up and running.

As of Tuesday morning, the Martian dust storm had grown in size and was officially a "planet-encircling" (or "global") dust event, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday. India's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft is also in orbit.

Luckily, its fellow rover Curiosity is still working, sending tweets and taking selfies on the other side of the planet. The storm's light-blocking factor, called "Tau" has grown to over 8.0 above at the Gale Crater where Curiosity is right now. Opportunity has "long-term survivability" even in the cold temperatures of Mars and can stay warm enough to function later on, NASA said.

Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said the current dust storm is bigger than the size of North America and Russian Federation combined.

Opportunity's science operations have been suspended, but it is happily not the lone Mars rover. The cherry red color is largely due to red dust grains in the atmosphere letting red light through, but not green or blue light.

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Late last week, the space agency reported that it had lost contact with its long-standing, durable Mars Opportunity rover thanks to the dust storm.

This animation shows the views from Mars Curiosity's Left PanCam, from May 17 to June 18, 2018 (Curiosity Sols 2054 to 2085). This sun-obstructing wall of haze is about six to eight times thicker than normal for this time of season.

"We don't have any good idea", said Scott D. Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, leading Curiosity's dust storm investigation.
Curiosity's cameras are having a hard time, however, as the lack of light means it has to use long exposure times. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) has a lens that's photographed Mars in incredible detail, giving scientists the ability to see objects as little as 3 feet wide and to study the planet's surface structure.

The game, in its essence, is not offering very complex gameplay or quests, or anything like that, but its most significant advantage is that the gamers can drive on Mars, virtually, in a very close-to-reality recreation of the Red Planet. "Carbon dioxide frozen on the winter polar cap evaporates, thickening the atmosphere and increasing the surface pressure", NASA explained in an official press release. In some cases, the dust clouds reach up to 40 miles (60 kilometers) or more in elevation.

According to the American space agency, there was only one other time humans have detected a storm similar in size. By contrast, the current storm, if it were happening on Earth, is bigger than North America and Russian Federation combined, says Guzewich.

An artist's conception of a Martian dust storm, which might also crackle with electricity. Earth has dust storms, too, in desert regions such as North Africa, the Middle East, and the southwest United States. Earth's gravitational pull is nearly double that of Mars, which helps settle the dust.

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