NASA’s Curiosity Tracks Huge Dust Storm on Mars

Storm area size of Russia, America combined

Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

NASA’s Curiosity rover is keeping tabs on the huge Martian dust storm that has sidelined its older cousin on the other side of the planet.

That storm, which covered as much area as North America and Russia combined as of today (June 12), has engulfed the golf-cart-size Opportunity rover, plunging its environs into perpetual darkness. The solar-powered Opportunity has therefore temporarily ceased science operations.

A recent photo by Curiosity suggests that dust may be encroaching a bit on its locale, the 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater. But Curiosity is nuclear-powered, so a drop in sunlight isn’t nearly as concerning to its handlers.

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