NASA’s Opportunity Waits Out a Dust Storm on Mars

A Darkening Martian

These images depict how the sky on Mars would look to NASA’s Opportunity rover as it becomes darker due to a global dust storm (as of June 2018). The right image shows the rover’s current view, while the left image shows the sun much brighter and appearing larger due to the intensity of the light. The right image shows the sun almost completely obscured by dust, appearing as a tiny pinprick. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/TAMU

Science operations for NASA’s Opportunity rover have been temporarily suspended as it waits out a dust storm on Mars. This series of images shows simulated views of a darkening Martian sky blotting out the Sun from NASA’s Opportunity rover’s point of view, with the right side simulating Opportunity’s current view in the global dust storm (June 2018). The left starts with a blindingly bright mid-afternoon sky, with the sun appearing bigger because of its brightness. The right shows the Sun so obscured by dust it looks like a pinprick. Each frame corresponds to a tau value, or measure of opacity: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

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