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Mars: July 2018



The dust that coats much of the surface of Mars originates largely from a single thousand-kilometer-long geological formation near the Red Planet's equator, scientists have found.


Science fiction writers have long featured terraforming, the process of creating an Earth-like or habitable environment on another planet, in their stories.


Evidence for the Red Planet's watery past is prevalent across its surface in the form of vast dried-out river valley networks and gigantic outflow channels clearly imaged by orbiting spacecraft.


In June, one of these dust events rapidly engulfed the planet. Scientists first observed a smaller-scale dust storm on May 30. By June 20, it had gone global.


The high resolution stereo camera on board ESA's Mars Express captured this impressive upwelling front of dust clouds - visible in the right half of the frame - near the north polar ice cap of Mars in April this year.


Worst dust storm in the history of human observation of Mars presents an unprecedented opportunity to study the critical weather pattern.


Mars' north polar layered deposits comprise a thick stack of icy layers.