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NASA's Lincoln Penny on Mars shows how strong the wind is blowing



The Global Dust Storm on Mars Earlier this year, NASA rovers coated in a layer of red planet dirt. A new picture series shows how the current windy season removes the Curiosity Rover.

Curiosity team member and planetary scientist Abigail Fraeman published an update of the mission blog Wednesday featuring two images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imagers' camera (MAHLI) on the Rover's arm September 4, 2018. [19659003] NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

The first image, taken on September 4th, shows the coin used to calibrate Curiosity's camera and test its performance. The penny is covered in mast dust, a reminder of the strong storm that disabled NASA's Opportunity Rover in June .

Later, the penny of Curiosity looks pretty clean.


NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

The second picture is from December 2nd and shows a much cleaner Penny. "There has been dust in Gale Crater lately," writes Fraeman.

Curiosity's Clean Coin may amplify the optimism regarding the opportunity rover that went into hibernation when dust fell on the solar panels and power was cut off. NASA is still confident that wind will clean the panels and allow the rover to charge and make contact.

Curiosity is currently investigating a group of red Jurassic rocks. The team hopes to find a suitable drill site to better understand geology. This will happen with a much less dusty Rover than a few weeks ago.


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