NASA is reporting a giant dust storm in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars and national media are covering the story. Such storms are not unusual, but the question now is whether the storm will assume global proportions as happened in 2001.
Rich Zurek, chief Mars scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge said this week, “One thing we want to learn is why do some Martian dust storms get to this size and stop growing, while others this size keep growing and go global.”
Why, indeed. The story comes in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation and a renewed focus on global warming here on Earth. If the heat and droughts we are now seeing continue to worsen, could we someday see a global dust shroud?
- Large Mars Dust Storm is Brewing (news.discovery.com)
- NASA scientists eyeing regional dust storm on Mars (thehindu.com)
- NASA Tracks Big Dust Storm on Mars (space.com)
- NASA Tracking Enormous Martian Dust Storm Using Combined Ground And Satellite Observations (planetsave.com)
- Vast Storm May Affect Mars Rovers, Space Agency Says (huffingtonpost.com)