Landers May Be at Risk From a Dust Storm

Engineers are worried that a new dust storm on Mars might put the three landers at risk when they arrive at the Red Planet in December and January. Right now, several small storms are combining to obscure part of the planet, but they could build to become a global storm – and event that’s happened several times in the past. The obscuring dust could limit the amount of electricity the landers can generate with their solar panels; flying dust could damage delicate equipment; and it could also heat up and expand the atmosphere, throwing the calculations off when the landers try to enter the atmosphere.