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Global Dust Storms Threaten Mars Rovers

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#102452 by @ 26.07.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Global Dust Storms Threaten Mars Rovers


Explanation:
Will
global dust storms terminate the robotic Martian rovers?

Over the past month,
windy dust storms
have blocked much needed sunlight from reaching the solar panels of both the
Spirit and
Opportunity rovers
exploring Mars.

At times, as much as 99 percent of sunlight has been obscured,
causing worry that the
batteries
might run out of energy before the storms end --
which may be as long as weeks.

In an effort to weather these storms, Earth
controllers have programmed the rovers to restrict movements and to use as little power as possible.

Although the rovers have been working for a
remarkable three years past their planned three month lifetimes, their immediate
future is now uncertain.

Pictured above,
the Opportunity rover perched on the edge of
Victoria Crater peered for a month into the
distance as dust made the Martian air increasingly
opaque.




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