Through a statement published on its website, NASA has announced that the dust storm has reached the position of Curiosity, the other NASA rover studying the Red Planet. However, this is the first time Curiosity has been on Mars to observe such a storm, and scientists are gathering as much information as possible to help future forecasting efforts. It seems that this haze is eight times thicker than normal, covering the planet in darkness, and making Curiosity rover's camera work more in the lack of proper lighting. Weather, clouds, winds, asteroid impacts, dust devils, storms, and even the momentum of the planet change the landscape to create interesting shapes. The agency noted that the level of dust in the area where Curiosity operates, more than doubled over the weekend of June 16-17 alone.
Scott Guzewich, NASA atmospheric scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, said, "We do not have any good idea".
While the storm's dust prevents Opportunity from topping up its solar power to keep heating itself, the heat absorbing dust is probably keeping the temperatures around the rover more stable and warmer than usual.
The present dust storm that is occurring in Mars has reportedly threatened all the Martian operations of NASA. "The rover already routinely points its Mastcam down at the ground after each use to reduce the amount of dust blowing at its optics", NASA stated via an agency-issued release.
Last week, NASA disclosed that it lost contact with the "Oppy" rover, adding that the engineers do not expect to hear back from the robot until the skies begin to clear above it. The image is this red because of the high concentration of dust in the air and the long exposure that the camera needs to take the photos in low-light conditions.
"Just to the south of the group of barchan dunes is one large dune with a more complex structure".