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There is an historic dust storm on Mars — and it is not like ‘The march’

This artist’s concept illustrates a martian dust storm, which also crackle with electricity.

(NASA)

If an intense dust storm raging on Mars, many people are wondering how bad can a Martian storm really?

Tuesday (June 12), NASA’s Opportunity rover stopped communicating in the middle of a severe sandstorm on the Red Planet. But while the storm has not yet killed the rover, still a Chance yet would be able to revive when the sky is clear — how dangerous storms on Mars?

For the fans of “The Mars” novel by Andy Weir, or the movie based on that book, the answer can be a disappointment. Storms on Mars are not as dramatic as the book or the film adaptation portray. While Martian wind on the surface of the planet up to about 60 mph (about 97 km/h), this is less than half the speed of a hurricane here on Earth, and probably not strong enough to rip or tip all of the important equipment, NASA officials said in a statement. [Mars Dust Storm 2018: How It Grew And What It Means for the Occasion]

However, even when the wind on the Red Planet reaches its highest speed, the wind on Mars is not as powerful as on Earth. “Mars’ atmospheric pressure is a lot less [than the Earth]. So, things blown [around], but not with the same intensity,” William Farrell, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said in the statement.

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So, “The Mars” movie accurately shows that Mark Watney wipe the dust off of its solar panels every day, because Mars is dust particles accumulate and the stick easily because they have something electrostatic. But dust storms on Mars are not as powerful as they might seem based on the film.

Still, Martian storm still could pose risks to humans. In a special NASA teleconference on June 13, researchers said that, while the atmosphere of Mars is thin, there is still substance is increased. This may hypothetically impede regular functioning and the visibility for future manned missions. In addition, dust storms create “sort of a greenhouse effect that radiation which otherwise would be lost to space is trapped,” heating of the planet, Rich Zurek, Mars Program Office chief scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said at the conference. People on the Martian surface already have to contend with radiation, and this effect will only increase the risk.

Plus, Martian storms can grow to an epic scale: the researchers said that The current storm is to extend, and could extend over the entire planet, that people have seen it happen on Mars.

So, a Mars dust storm will probably not be so strict any future space colonists, or rip all the antennas off of equipment, such as what happened in “Mars.” Instead, the dangers for the man would more likely range from radiation to dust accumulation (due to the static electricity), or perhaps less dramatic risks associated with the wind, researchers said at the conference. Solar-tech will also continue the fight against dust that attaches to solar panels on the rovers as an Opportunity.

NASA is already seriously considering these potential threats for the future space explorers. “We really need to understand that these storms in the degree that we have a certain degree of forecasting ability,” Jim Watzin, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D. C., said at the conference.

So, it turns out that dust storms on Mars are not as cinematic dramatic as the fans of “Mars” may have thought. Still, NASA is working on the protection of future manned missions of the dangers that can arise from the Martian again.

Original article on Space.com.

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