ESA unveiled in May 2018 an impressive new photograph of a Marsturm seething over the northern region. The photo shows huge clouds of dust over the Utopia Planitia region near the North Pole. ( ESA / DLR / FU Berlin )
The European Space Agency has published a spectacular new image of a dust storm over the northern polar region of Mars
The image was taken from ESA Mars using Express orbiters Data generated by the spaceship's high-resolution stereo camera
Astronomers of the German Aerospace Center, which manages the HRSC, manages the camera system that captured the image on April 3.
Storm storm over the north Pole
Mars Express managed to capture the image of a dust storm swirling over Utopia Planitia, a region near the polar ice cap of the Red Planet in the northern polar region.
The Dust Storm is one of many small events that have taken place in recent months on Mars. It also proved to be the harbinger of the massive dust storm that currently surrounds the entire planet in dust and darkness.
Dust storms on Mars are not uncommon. However, the Martian wind does not blow as fast as it does on Earth. The low atmospheric pressure also helps reduce the impact strong winds can have on the planet's surface.
Even then, Mars dust storms can become so large that they can cover the entire planet. After the dust storm of the North Pole in April, a major storm began in May in the Arabia Terra region in the southwest.
The dust storm has become a global phenomenon that has overwhelmed NASA's chance to rover huntering the strong winds of dust are hitting the planet.
How do dust storms develop on Mars?
Dust storms occur on Mars in the summer of the southern hemisphere. At this point, the red planet is moving closer to the sun in its elliptical orbit.
The higher temperatures cause more dust particles to be stirred up and released into the atmosphere. This generates more wind, which then absorbs even more dust particles in a mysterious cycle, which the earth scientists still have to explain.
To make matters worse, the melting ice caps at the South Pole release abundant carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This increases the atmospheric pressure, which intensifies the storm, to carry more dust into the air.
Huge Dust Storm Passing Now
Although most Martian dust storms can occur suddenly, they are often confined to a local area. Huge dust storms like the one that is just happening are much rarer and happen only every three to four years of Mars, which is six to eight Earth years.
In 2007, a huge dust storm flooded Mars in complete darkness. Cutting off most communication with Opportunity. The current dust storm is less strong, but still strong enough to stop Opportunity's operations.
Currently, five of the NASA and ESA spacecraft are observing the storm-covered red planet, while the NASA's rover continues to explore Mars' surface because it does not need solar energy.
Experts expect the dust storm to subside by fall, by which time Opportunity should be able to return to life and continue its exploration.
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