June 06, 2018

This movie was acquired by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Mars Colour Imager (MARCI) camera. Mars experienced two large dust storms over its northern hemisphere during the week of May 28 to June 3, 2018. The small white circles show the locations of the Opportunity rover at Meridiani Planum, and Curiosity rover in Gale Crater.

The Opportunity rover encountered exceptionally high dust levels towards the end of the week, while Curiosity was relatively unaffected.

A large, bow-shaped dust storm moved eastward over the northern mid-latitudes of Utopia Planitia before abating. By mid-week, a new dust storm had formed and moved southward along the Acidalia storm-track into Xanthe Terra. By the end of the week, it covered an area from eastern Valles Marineris to north central Arabia Terra; about the same size as the combined area of the entire United States and Mexico.

A number of smaller dust storms were spotted over northern Amazonis, Argyre, and Noachis Terra. Each afternoon, diffuse water-ice clouds were present over Tyrrhena Terra and the major shield volcanoes of Tharsis.

MARCI acquires a global view of the Red Planet and its weather patterns every day and can tell us about seasonal and yearly changes in climate. It also observes dust storms and changes in the polar cap and makes ultraviolet observations to detect variations in ozone, dust, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. MARCI observes these processes on scales of tens of kilometers.

During a regular week, MARCI collects data for about 273 images using its seven color filter bands. These images are mapped and stitched together to create seven daily global maps, and projected onto a sphere. Black areas are regions where data drops or high-angle spacecraft maneuvers limit the camera’s view. Some areas are blurry as the spacecraft looks the side when acquiring that data.



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