Astronomers are constantly observing the surface of the Red Planet in order to better understand the weather conditions prevailing on it. It is of great importance if we want to live there.
The Mars Express spacecraft, which belongs to the European Space Agency, has sent spectacular images of the area surrounding the north pole of this fascinating planet to Earth. We can see them forming a dust storm. These types of phenomena are something natural on Mars and are closely related to seasonal changes.
Currently in the northern hemisphere of the planet came spring. It results in the melting of dry ice and the formation of CO2 air currents, which are directed from the north towards the equator. They raise small dust in the air and spread it because the entire region. It often happens that dust storms have a global dimension. Recently, this took place a year ago. This phenomenon covered the entire planet, raged for 4 months and contributed to the permanent damage to NASA’s Mars rover called Opportunity.
The Mars Express spacecraft observed at least eight different storms on the edge of the ice cover, between May 22 and June 10. They formed and scattered very quickly, in just one to three days. The animated sequence of images from the VMC camera that you can see above was created on May 29 this year. This dust storm began on May 28 and lasted until June 1, at this time heading towards the equator.
Martian dust storms sleep astronomers’ dreams. Undoubtedly, they will be the real nightmare of the first colonizers. These phenomena can take many months to cover the entire planet and effectively cut off its surface from life-giving solar rays. Such conditions will threaten the bases, equipment, vehicles, robots, rockets and astronauts themselves. That’s why both NASA and ESA constantly follow Martian weather to prepare for the first manned mission and choose the right place to settle there.