A Case Of Conjunction-Itis / Mars Dust Storm Global But Weakening

Over the next week, the waxing and then waning moon will pass three bright planets — Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. First to get a visit will be Jupiter both tonight and tomorrow night (June 23). Saturn follows on June 27 and Mars on the 30th. The moon moves faster across the sky because it’s so…
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Mars Dust Storm Intensifies, May Go Global

The big dust storm on Mars has spread to cover a quarter of the planet. And the Opportunity rover has gone silent. NASA engineers attempted to contact the Opportunity rover on June 12 but did not hear back probably because the charge in its batteries has dropped below 24 volts. At that point, the rover…
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Big Dust Storm On Mars — Opportunity Rover Hangs On

Mars is famous for its dust storms whether fictional as in the movie “The Martian” or for real. Right now, a for-real storm has NASA concerned for the health of the Opportunity rover, which has been trundling across the Red Planet for nearly 15 years. According to the agency “a dark, perpetual night has settled…
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Mars Gets Closer And Closer, Bigger And Brighter

Man oh man, Mars is sure getting bright and closing in, too. Now at magnitude –1.2, the Red Planet shines second only to Sirius, the brightest star.  Damian’s montage (above) beautifully illustrates how much bigger (and brighter) the planet has become since the start of the year. Although Mars rises red as radishes around 11…
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Mars Rover Drills Into ‘Duluth’ And The Moon Joins Jupiter

Last week, we visited the 3-foot slab of rock the Mars Curiosity rover team named “Duluth.” The rover’s drill, which bores a hole in rocks and then gathers up a sample of the tailing for analysis, has had mechanical problems since October 2016. Engineers cooked up a new way to drill called Feed Extending Drilling…
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