This composite image made from a series of June 15, 2018 photos shows a self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover in the Gale Crater. The rover's arm which held the camera was positioned out of each of the dozens of shots which make up the mosaic. A dust storm has reduced sunlight and visibility at the rover's location. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)

Mars rover still silent as red planet dust storm goes global

June 20, 2018 - 6:38 pm
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A dust storm at Mars is now global, keeping NASA's Opportunity rover out of touch with Earth.

Flight controllers lost contact with the rover more than a week ago. At the time, the dust storm covered one-fourth of Mars. NASA said Wednesday the storm now encircles the red planet, with only tall volcano peaks and the poles exposed to the sun.

Without sunlight, the solar-powered Opportunity can only hunker down and wait for the sky to clear.

NASA's nuclear-powered rover Curiosity is unaffected and is studying the extreme weather conditions. Mars hasn't seen a storm like this since 2007.

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, say they remain optimistic Opportunity can survive. The rover has been exploring Mars since 2004.

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