Regional dust storm dissipating

November 28, 2012 by Guy Webster & D. Agle
A regional dust storm visible in the southern hemisphere of Mars in this nearly global mosaic of observations made by the Mars Color Imager on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 25, 2012, has contracted from its size a week earlier ( Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

(—A regional dust storm on Mars, tracked from orbit since Nov. 10, appears to be abating rather than going global.

"During the past week, the regional storm weakened and contracted significantly," said Bruce Cantor of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. Cantor uses the Mars Color Imager camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to monitor storms on the Red Planet.

Effects of the storm on global air-pressure patterns have been detected at ground level by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.

This graph compares a typical daily pattern of changing atmospheric pressure (blue) with the pattern during a regional dust storm hundreds of miles away (red). The data are by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) on NASA's Curiosity rover. Pressure is a measure of the amount of air in the whole column of atmosphere sitting above the rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CAB(CSIC-INTA)/FMI/Ashima Research

"We are getting lots of good data about this storm," said Mark Richardson of Ashima Research, Pasadena, Calif. He is a co-investigator both on REMS and on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's Sounder instrument, which has been detecting widespread effects of the current storm on atmospheric temperatures.

Researchers anticipate that the unprecedented combination of a near-equatorial at ground level, and daily orbital observations during Mars' dust-, may provide information about why some grow larger than others.

Explore further: Mars Spacecraft Teams on Alert for Dust-Storm Season

More information: For more information about the missions of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, visit .

Related Stories

Scientists monitor developing Mars dust storm

April 20, 2009

( -- Scientists at Arizona State University's Mars Space Flight Facility are using the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter to monitor a new dust storm that has erupted on the ...

Free Spirit Testing Nearing Completion

July 31, 2009

Mars rover engineers at JPL are winding down testing of different escape maneuvers using a test rover in a sand box filled with soil to mimic the Martian surface. It is possible that in early August the first extraction attempts ...

Dust Storm Passing Over Spirit

August 26, 2009

( -- The amount of electricity generated by the solar panels on Spirit has been declining for the past several Martian days, or sols, as a regional dust storm moved southward and blocked some of the sunshine at ...

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.