NASA’s media teleconference discussed a massive Martian dust storm affecting operations of the agency’s Opportunity rover and what scientists can learn from the various missions studying this unprecedented event.

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The storm is one of the most intense ever observed on the Red Planet. As of June 10, it covered more than 15.8 million square miles (41 million square kilometers) — about the area of North America and Russia combined. It has blocked out so much sunlight, it has effectively turned day into night for Opportunity, which is located near the center of the storm, inside Mars’ Perseverance Valley.

Participants in the teleconference included:
· John Callas, Opportunity project manager, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
· Rich Zurek, Mars Program Office chief scientist, JPL
· Jim Watzin, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington
· Dave Lavery, program executive at NASA Headquarters for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers