Mars Update

By Mike Deliman

Though we haven’t seen a lot of Mars in the news lately, for those
who keep track, the past couple of months have been somewhat
stressful.  A sandstorm started on Mars over a month ago.  It’s still
raging on, and even though the rovers are on opposite sides of the
planet, the storm has affected both rovers.

This dust storm has measurable effects.  It’s made the sky more
opaque, added dust to the solar panels, and made the atmosphere retain
a little more heat.  With the dust in the sky, less sun light makes it
down to the rovers.  With new layers of dust on the panels, even more
of the sunlight is blocked out.  And even though the dust helps retain
heat,  it’s not a huge difference, and it’s still cold enough that the
emergency heaters could be turned on.

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