Oi! NASA! Not EVERYONE wants a global dust storm, thank you…!

I must admit I was more than a little narked the other day when I saw this rather breathless NASA post on Twitter…

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I read that and my first thought was “…but what about Opportunity????

( You remember Opportunity, NASA? That rover you landed on Mars 14 years ago? The one that is STILL working? The one that is SOLAR-POWERED and would probably DIE if a global storm darkened the martian sky and dumped a great load of dust on its SOLAR PANELS? Ah, yes. That one… )

I’m sure that “experts” who find dust storms and martian meteorology fascinating would love to see the Red Planet temporarily turned into the Featureless Ochre Planet, because then they could see how the atmosphere behaves when it’s choked with martian dust, and how that dust eventually settles out onto the surface again. Such a storm wouldn’t affect nuclear-powered Curiosity very much. It would slow her down, yes, and darken her skies, probably stop her taking images and force her to hunker down while the dust swirled and whirled around her, but when the storm had blown itself out she’d just trundle on and continue dustily on her way. Opportunity, on the other hand, would probably not make it out of such a global event alive. With her solar arrays covered with dust her power levels would drop like a stone and she would find it very hard to keep functioning. She too would have to hunker down, and all we could do here on Earth would be to watch the skies in her images get darker and darker until the sky itself vanished, and then cross our fingers that she came out the other side…

So, NASA, please try and remember that you have another rover on Mars and that it needs sunlight to keep doing amazing science and taking, and sending back, beautiful images. Not everyone would welcome Barsoom being smothered in dust, thank you…

Here are my latest colourisations and mosaics…

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  • Please note this is an affectionate, tongue-in-cheek post, so don’t fire-off any snarky comments… I know NASA loves Opportunity really…  Well, some people at NASA do… 😉
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