Raver32 writes "Mars' globe-engulfing dust storm has died down during the past several weeks, but the two robotic rovers on its surface now face the fallout of dust from the thin atmosphere.
Conditions were so bad in early August that just before the launch of the Mars-bound Phoenix spacecraft, rover scientist Mark Lemmon feared the demise of the Opportunity rover.
"There was one sol [Martian day] when there was real uncertainty we'd hear from Opportunity," said Lemmon, a planetary scientist at Texas A&M University. He added that the plucky robotic explorer almost entered a power-saving mode that would have been dangerous "uncharted territory" for the rover team.
Still, Lemmon thinks the Mars rovers will persevere through the dusty conditions.
"Mars could throw worse storms at us, but for this season I think we have seen the worst," he told SPACE.com in an e-mail. "We got a good demonstration that Mars could kill them.""
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