In a recent development, it was observed that a huge dust storm on Mars was forced to stop the NASA’s opportunity rover science work. The storm was spotted from space with the help of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, as per NASA officials.
The dust storm size which was occurring on the Red planet is said to be one of the biggest storms, and its size is larger than that of North America. After they have discovered this storm. NASA has suspended the science operations which are carried by NASA’s Opportunity rover, and they are now waiting for the storm to pass.
As per a statement by NASA officials, they said that when they have spotted the storm, they notified the rover’s team to get prepared for the contingency plans and in some days the storm has ballooned. Till Friday, the storm has covered more than 7 million square miles of Mars. This type of dust storms on Mars is not surprising, and they can last for weeks to months.
On June 6th, 2018, NASA has released a global map of Mars which was captured by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and in the map, it shows that the growing dust storm and in the middle a tiny blue dot which resembles the position of the rover. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has first noticed the storm building on June 1st, 2018 and then an MRO team has warned the opportunity team to get ready for this storm.
This storm has affected the Opportunity’s solar panels, and it uses to recharge its batteries and helps to give power to the heaters which allow the rover to function in the extremely cold conditions of Mars. On June 6th, the power levels of the Rover seems to have a major drop, and it forced to stop all the science experiments to conserve power. If the storm lasts too long, then the main issue for NASA is the danger of getting cold, and it may kill the rover. Till now Opportunity has survived major storms since 15 years.