DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Martian dust storm. Artwork of a Martian dust storm over the Gusev Crater area (uper centre). This is the crater in which the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit landed in January 2004. Dust storms are common on Mars, which is an arid desert world. Sometimes dust storms cover the whole planet. Smaller dust storms (called dust devils) have enveloped the Mars Exploration Rovers during their missions. It is thought that these helped clean the solar panels powering the rovers, helping to extend their operating lifetimes. As of May 2006, both rovers are still operating after over 2 years on the surface of Mars.
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