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Topic: Dust Storm

NASA separates Fact from Fiction about Dust Storms on Mars

 

Written by Kathryn Mersmann
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – For years, science fiction writers from Edgar Rice Burroughs to C. S. Lewis have imagined what it would be like for humans to walk on Mars. As mankind comes closer to taking its first steps on the Red Planet, authors’ depictions of the experience have become more realistic.

Andy Weir’s “The Martian” begins with a massive dust storm that strands fictional astronaut Mark Watney on Mars. In the scene, powerful wind rips an antenna out of a piece of equipment and destroys parts of the astronauts’ camp.

Mars is infamous for intense dust storms, which sometimes kick up enough dust to be seen by telescopes on Earth.

A dust storm on Mars in 2008 temporarily cuts the amount of sunlight reaching the solar array on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, leaving the rover in a vulnerable state. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell)

A dust storm on Mars in 2008 temporarily cuts the amount of sunlight reaching the solar array on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, leaving the rover in a vulnerable state. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell)

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Why We Serve: Fort Campbell’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s Pfc. Nicholas Bakker

 

Written by U.S. Army Spc. Brian Smith-Dutton
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division PAO

RakkasanFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division

Paktya Province, Afghanistan – As dust blows wildly through Combat Outpost Champkani, Afghanistan; the mixture of sand between the helicopter landing zone and the small COP makes it ideal for miniature dust storms.

The closest building to the landing zone is the Aid station, set up for any type of emergency. On the outside, it’s covered with Afghan dirt and dust, but on the inside, it’s a clean, well kept medical facility.

Pfc. Nicholas Bakker

Pfc. Nicholas Bakker

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter tracks Dust Storm over the surface of Mars

 

Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A Martian dust storm that NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been tracking since last week has also produced atmospheric changes detectable by rovers on Mars.

Using the orbiter’s Mars Color Imager, Bruce Cantor of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, began observing the storm on November 10th, and subsequently reported it to the team operating NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

The storm came no closer than about 837 miles (1,347 kilometers) from Opportunity, resulting in only a slight drop in atmospheric clarity over that rover, which does not have a weather station.

This nearly global mosaic of observations made by the Mars Color Imager on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 18, 2012, shows a dust storm in Mars' southern hemisphere. Small white arrows outline the area where dust from the storm is apparent in the atmosphere. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This nearly global mosaic of observations made by the Mars Color Imager on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 18, 2012, shows a dust storm in Mars’ southern hemisphere. Small white arrows outline the area where dust from the storm is apparent in the atmosphere. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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