Mars Science Laboratory Observations of the 2018/Mars Year 34 Global Dust Storm

S. Guzewich, M. T. Lemmon, G. Martinez, Á. Vicente-Retortillo, C. E. Newman, M. M. Baker, C. Campbell, B. Cooper, J. Crisp, J. Gomez-Elvira, A. M. Harri, D. Hassler, F. J. Martin-Torres, T. H. McConnochie, J. Moores, H. Kahanpää, A. S. J. Khayat, C. L. Smith, M. D. Smith, Jr. Sullivan R. J.M. de la Torre Juarez, A. R. Vasavada, D. Viudez-Moreiras, C. Zeitlin, M. P. Zorzano

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Observations of the 2018/Mars Year 34 global dust storm by the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover provide the most comprehensive in situmeteorological and environmental measurements ever recorded during a martian global dust storm, enhancing measurements taken by the Viking landers and Mars Exploration Rovers during the 1977/Mars Year 12 and 2007/Mars Year 28 global dust storms, respectively. The storm saw a drastic reduction in the amplitude of diurnal air and ground temperature variations and a dramatic increase in the amplitude of the semidiurnal pressure tide. Observed dust devil activity within Gale Crater ceased and particular patterns of airfall dust deposition were observed on the rover body.As the storm developed in the northern hemisphere and near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site, Meridiani Planum, atmospheric opacity in Gale Crater was unseasonably low with a value of 0.57 (measured at a wavelength of 880 nm) at Ls= 188.3° (MSL mission Sol 2073). On MSL mission Sol 2075, the MSL science team initiated a global dust storm science campaign involving a substantially increased cadence of environmental monitoring using the rover's instruments (specifically the frequency of 1-hour duration "extended blocks" with the Rover Environmental Monitoring System and measurements of atmospheric dust levels using the Mast Camera and Navigation Cameras). By Ls= 195.5° (MSL mission Sol 2085) the atmospheric opacity reached 8.5. Due to Curiosity's radioisotope thermoelectric generator power source, science operations were not precluded by the storm.In this work we present an overview of results from the Curiosity rover during the dust storm. Specific topics discussed include the local and global meteorological conditions, the atmospheric dust opacity variation in both the vertical column and within Gale Crater itself, dust particle properties, aeolian processes during the storm, and the radiation environment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
EventAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2018: AGU - Walter E Washington Convention Center - 202A, Washington D.C., United States
Duration: 10 Dec 201814 Dec 2018


ConferenceAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2018
Abbreviated titleAGU
CountryUnited States
CityWashington D.C.
Internet address


  • 0305 Aerosols and particles
  • 6225 Mars

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    Guzewich, S., Lemmon, M. T., Martinez, G., Vicente-Retortillo, Á., Newman, C. E., Baker, M. M., Campbell, C., Cooper, B., Crisp, J., Gomez-Elvira, J., Harri, A. M., Hassler, D., Martin-Torres, F. J., McConnochie, T. H., Moores, J., Kahanpää, H., Khayat, A. S. J., Smith, C. L., Smith, M. D., ... Zorzano, M. P. (2018). Mars Science Laboratory Observations of the 2018/Mars Year 34 Global Dust Storm. Abstract from American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2018, Washington D.C., United States.