Red Planet’s massive dust storm weakening as Mars changes seasons

A massive dust storm on Mars that threatened a NASA lander is finally fading away.

In late September, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sounded an alarm for missions studying the Red Planet: a dust storm was brewing. Such storms have a grim reputation among surface missions since a storm circling the whole planet ended the solar-powered Opportunity rover’s mission in 2018. And NASA now has another solar-powered robot on the surface to worry about: Its InSight lander. For a few weeks, the storm left InSight in peace, but by early October, dust had darkened the skies above it and spacecraft personnel were worried their mission would come to an abrupt end.

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