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На Марсе бушует пыльная буряMartian dust storm, for which the probe Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter watched it last week, resulted in changes of the atmosphere seen in force at the surface of the planet by the Rovers.

Mosaic of images obtained tool Mars Color Imager on November 18, covers almost the entire Mars. White arrows indicate a dusty area. (Image from NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS.)

Using MRO-tool Mars Color Imager Bruce Kantor from Malin Space Science Systems (USA) began to monitor the storm November 10, what subsequently informed the operators of the Rover Opportunity. The storm has passed by, meet with the Rover on 1 347 km, so the machine (which, by the way, meteorological equipment) saw only a small reduction in the transparency of the atmosphere.

But Curiosity, located on the other side of the planet, has registered changes of the atmosphere associated with the storm. Sensors tool Rover Environmental Monitoring Station, developed in Spain, showed that the pressure has decreased, while the minimum one night temperature increased slightly.

"Now it is a regional dust storm, " said rich Zurek, chief of Mars at the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA. She was enveloped in a haze of quite a large area, and appeared in that part of the world, where in the past it happened such disasters, which closed dust veil of the entire planet. For the first time since the program "Viking" we have the opportunity to study dust storms and from orbit, and using a meteorological station on the surface".

Martian year lasts about two earth years. Regional dust storms occurred on Mars in 2001 and 2007. "We would like to know why some storms reaches a certain size, and stop growing, and others continue to grow and embrace the world", - says Mr. Zurek.

Ten years of observations of the red planet showed seasonal variations scale dust storms. The season has started a few weeks ago with the beginning of spring in the southern hemisphere. From November 16 tool Mars Climate Sounder, mounted on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, registers the warming of the atmosphere at an altitude of 25 km above the storm. The dust absorbs sunlight, warming shows that it rose so high.

The temperature increase is observed not only in a dusty area in the South and North polar region, which is explained by changes in atmospheric circulation. The same changes have affected the pressure measured Curiosity, while the tempest still very far from it.

Dust can contaminate solar panel Opportunity, and he will lose power. Curiosity also operates from a radioisotope thermoelectric generator.

With the latest on today Martian weather report is available here.

Based on the materials of the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA.
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