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 (http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA16450). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

(Phys.org)—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 Reconnaissance Orbiter monitoring dust storm

More information: For more information about the missions of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, visit marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/ .

Related Stories

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 ...

Scientists monitor developing Mars dust storm

April 20, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 ...

Dust Storm Passing Over Spirit

August 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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

Galaxy murder mystery

January 17, 2017

It's the big astrophysical whodunnit. Across the Universe, galaxies are being killed and the question scientists want answered is, what's killing them?

ALMA reveals sun in new light

January 17, 2017

New images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) reveal stunning details of our Sun, including the dark, contorted center of an evolving sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth.

Astrophysicists discover dimming of binary star

January 16, 2017

A team of University of Notre Dame astrophysicists led by Peter Garnavich, professor of physics, has observed the unexplained fading of an interacting binary star, one of the first discoveries using the University's Sarah ...

0 comments

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.