On Mars two weeks raging dust storm prevents the penetration of sunlight through the atmosphere.
NASA suspended science operations by Mars Rover “opportunity”, reports the website of the Agency.
On Mars, in the Valley of Perseverance for almost two weeks raging dust storm, which hampers the penetration of sunlight through the atmosphere and deprives the Rover power source.
One of the characteristic features of the red planet – the powerful dust storms that can last for weeks or even months. Despite the fact that the atmospheric density of Mars is considerably lower than the density of Earth’s atmosphere, and during hurricanes the amount raised in the air particles is relatively small, it still can be a problem for Rovers, powered by solar batteries. Even if the unit gets into a small storm deposited on photoelectric Converter layer of dust can be enough to useful surface, able to convert solar energy into electrical energy, decreased significantly. In this case, the Rover will not be able to perform scientific experiments and transmit the data to Earth.
In 2007, “opportunity” has already experienced a major dust storm, but then the maximum value was half the 5.5 Tau.
June 6, NASA has registered a marked decline in energy level of the Rover and moved it to save work. All scientific operations performed “opportunity”, has been discontinued. The latest data show that the temperature of the Rover fell to -29 degrees Celsius. Minimum operating temperature of the device is -40 degrees, so now his system is working to maintain heat in the batteries.
On the other hand, dust may partly help the Rover since it is absorbing the sun’s rays and also absorb heat, which in turn increases the temperature of the environment.
In addition, the “Opportunity” the 10th gave the signal to the Ground – his energy yet enough to maintain a connection. However, if the storm would last for too long, it can jeopardize the work of the Rover and all scientific operations.