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Scientists think they now have a method to predict the next global-wide dust storm on Mars, and based on this theory they predict it will happen very soon.
Global dust storms on Mars could soon become more predictable — which would be a boon for future astronauts there — if the next one follows a pattern suggested by those in the past. A published prediction, based on this pattern, points to Mars experiencing a global dust storm in the next few months. “Mars will reach the midpoint of its current dust storm season on October 29th of this year. Based on the historical pattern we found, we believe it is very likely that a global dust storm will begin within a few weeks or months of this date,” James Shirley, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
This is most interesting because my next rover update, later today or tomorrow, is going to note the increasingly dusty atmosphere in Gale Crater. It isn’t a global dust storm, but maybe it is indicative of one that is about to happen.