Mars is a dry and dusty place, and strong winds can make huge material flags that block the sun for days, weeks or even months. The fate of NASA's opportunity rover – turned off after a colossal dust storm that prevented its solar panels from generating power – was a keen reminder that the Red Planet is a dangerous place for robots.
Now NASA reveals that the second full selfie The newly arrived InSight lander shows a machine covered in orange dust. Scientists are not worried. They hope that light dust baking will actually give new clues to the weather on Mars.
If dust accumulates anywhere on Mars, including NASA robots, it usually does not stay there long. Strong winds whipping all over the planet tend to shake it up again at events that are sometimes referred to as "dust clearing." The InSight Lander, which is now the best weather tool on Mars, collecting and clearing dust can provide new data How strong the winds are and how much dust the Martian wind is stirring up.
"On February 1
InSight – one shortly after the landing and the second, which was recently taken – you can clearly see the dust that begins to form on the spacecraft:
The good news is the robot isn There is no danger of the power being shut down forever, and NASA is excited about the new discoveries that dust level changes could bring if they want to better understand how the weather on Mars affects the planet's surface.
A major difference to our performance, but this first event fascinates science, "said Ralph Lorenz of the InSight science team in a statement. "It gives us a starting point to understand how the wind changes the surface. We still do not really know how much wind it takes to absorb dust on Mars. "