Dust Storms Brew Over Mars’ North Pole – D-brief

(Credit: ESA/GCP/UPV/EHU Bilbao)

Near the north pole of Mars, a dust storm has been ravaging for over a month. The dark clouds have been moving around the ice cap at about 4.5 mph (2 m/s), as observed by The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft. The above image frames make up a timelapse covering about 70 minutes, as dust storms push across the planet’s north polar ice cap.

These storms usually last for a few days or weeks but can cover the entire planet when they’re ravaging. That happened last year. But most often, dust storms cover just a small area of the planet.

ESA has been keeping track of these storms with the Mars Express spacecraft. Their first mission to another planet in our solar system, Mars Express has been observing the Red Planet since 2004.

By studying the current climate on Mars, scientists can help predict what the past climate of the planet was like, along with preparing for future missions to Mars.

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