‘Once in a blue dune’: NASA shares striking image of Martian crater

Credit NASA  JPL-Caltech  Univ. of Arizona

Take a look at this peculiar blue sand dune that NASA found on Mars

The current dust storm is more diffuse and patchy but it is not showing any signs of clearing. However, this is the first time Curiosity has been on Mars to observe such a storm, and scientists are gathering as much information as possible to help future forecasting efforts.

However, the Curiosity rover, which depends on plutonium rather than sunlight, is still unaffected and is sending regular information regarding the Martian dust storm to NASA. It is assumed that the rover's batteries have a charge that's under 24 volts, which puts the spacecraft in low power fault mode. While the rover is not expected to communicate until the Martian skies have cleared up, the team continues to monitor and listen for a signal daily. For the researchers of NASA, Curiosity can provide an extraordinary opportunity to counter why few Martian dust storms remain for months and develop huge, whereas others are small and remain a week only. In this state, all the subsystems except the mission clock are shut down.

NASA's Opportunity rover, which has been on Mars for almost 15 years, is going into sleep mode.

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However, while Curiosity is nuclear-powered and therefore not dependent on solar energy, NASA's other operational rover on Mars, Opportunity, is powered by Sunlight now blocked by the thickening haze.

The space agency says the dust storm is already about the size of North America and Russian Federation combined.

Dust storms on Mars have been notoriously hard to predict, both in their development and their longevity.

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So rest assured, Mars is by and large a red planet, even if it may have been green a very long time ago.

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