Fortuitous winds keep Opportunity rolling on the Red Planet.
On January 24, 2013, NASA's Opportunity rover will begin its tenth year of exploration on the surface of Mars. Aiding the rover's survival in this alien outback are what scientists call a series of cleaning events, favorable gusts of wind that blow layers of martian dust off Opportunity's solar panel arrays. Each event restores the rover's health by boosting its energy supply, which is fueled by light harvested from the sun. Dust accumulation results from exposure to local, regional or planet-wide dust storms that occur naturally on Mars. Such storms can last hours or days and happen year round. The time-lapse video of images captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows dust storm activity in the planet's southern hemisphere from March 19 to April 14, 2009.
Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Cover image courtesy of NASA/JPL Video courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS 2004 rover image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell 2011 rover image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU Mars image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU
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