Mars is a planet with an overall desert landscape. According to a recent scientific study, a massive dust storm is going to form over the Martian landscape within the next couple of months. This has NASA scientists worried because the safety of their robotic rovers that roam the Martian surface are going to be at risk of getting destroyed by the storm.
The majority of dust storms on Mars are small local storms. But, they do frequently expand to larger regions of the planet and sometimes they’ll even spread across the entire planet. Usually, the dust storms will reach their highest intensity around the springtime or summertime because these are the times of the year when the sun is closest to Mars. Once the dust storms pass over the landscape, it leaves behind a hazy trail of dust that makes it hard to see. More importantly, it makes it harder for rovers to absorb solar power from the sun in order to function properly.
The dust storm also has people talking about how unsafe it would be to send people to Mars. After all, the planet’s dust storms could form quickly and ultimately endanger the lives of the astronauts who get sent there. However, the good news is NASA scientists are getting better at studying the weather patterns of Mars. They have studied the previous dust storms that have taken place on the planet, dating all the way back to 1971. What they discovered was that the orbital momentum of the planet is how you predict dust storms there. If the momentum increases, the dust storms are likely to form afterward. So if their predictions are proven to be accurate, this means NASA could one day predict what the weather will be like when they send astronauts to the Red Planet.