As a rule, dust storms on Mars rage onlyin some areas of the planet, and last a maximum of a few weeks. However, sometimes they cover very large areas, and last for several months. In this case, they represent a great danger to research apparatus on the planet, which arrived from the Earth. Not only because of the dust they see the environment poorly and cannot conduct research, they can also break down and remain completely alone for decades.
Right now on the southern hemisphere of Mars is spring, and onit can be observed large clouds of dust. They are studied by the Mars-Express unit flying over the Red Planet, equipped with HRSC (High Resolution Stereo Camera) and VMC (Visual Monitoring Camera) on-board cameras. Thanks to them, from May 22 to June 10, 2019, the device was able to photograph eight dust storms that raged from one to three days in a row.
Dust storms on Mars
Having studied the photos taken, researchers fromThe European Space Agency (ESA) tracked their development and movement. Nearby extinct volcanoes Elysius and Olympus, whose height reaches from 16 to 21 thousand meters, the researchers identified thin and light clouds. When they reached the hills, spelling clouds formed in the region, a phenomenon in which air masses glide over the mountainous terrain and form more complex cloud shapes.
Fortunately, such dust storms last onlya few days, and the dust raised from the surface of the planet spreads over the atmosphere of Mars at an altitude of 20–40 kilometers and forms a thin haze. However, having studied even such small storms, researchers from the European Space Agency will be able to prepare their vehicles and crew for large-scale storms. Otherwise, space missions that cost billions of dollars can fail.
Photos of eight dust storms on Mars
Large-scale dust storms, according toresearchers can also be the cause of the disappearance of water from the surface of Mars. Of course, we should not forget that the cause of the death of the Opportunity apparatus was also a strong dust storm.
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