Predicting the next Martian global dust storm

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

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.


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This year's fund-raising drive however is more significant in that it is also the 10th anniversary of this website's founding. It is hard to believe, but I have been doing this for a full decade, during which I have written more than 22,000 posts, of which more than 1,000 were essays and almost 2,600 were evening pauses.

This year's fund drive is also more important because of the growing intolerance of free speech and dissent in American culture. Increasingly people who don't like what they read are blatantly acting to blackball sites like mine. I have tried to insulate myself from this tyrannical effort by not depending on Google advertising or cross-posts Facebook or Twitter. Though this prevents them from having a hold on me, it also acts to limit my exposure.

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  • Cotour

    Related because its about weather on this planet, but its stupid:

    This how EF’n stupid stupid can get.

    Every drop of common sense is being attempted to be wrung out of the American public by our political leaders and our media.

    I really do not like to use the word, there is always something redeeming to be found after a discussion, but this is like I said, stupid, stupid and more stupid!

  • BSJ

    Well, everybody does complain about the weather.

    Thank goodness that Pres. Obama is finally going to do something about it! [sarc]

  • BSJ

    And too add,

    Mars pretty much looks like a little featureless gibbous blob through my 10″ telescope, at the moment.

    It’s too bad we’re going to miss it being a featureless little disc because of a GLOBAL dust storm!

  • ken anthony

    I wonder how much solar panels lose during a dust storm?

  • Localfluff

    @Cotour, Yuri Maltsev was the last defector from the Soviet Union, an economics adviser to Gorbachev (who does not accept any blame, “advising” consisted of just listening to the boss, he says) who became libertarian when he was ordered to read Ludwig von Mises in order to study the enemy. He’s got a sense of humor when he talks for the Mises Institute in the US nowadays. He said that in Soviet, the only thing people dared comment, of what they read in the lying newspaper Pravda, was the weather forecast. But now in the US, the weather has become the most politically sensitive topic of all!

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