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Emily LakdawallaOctober 13, 2008

Phoenix "battens down the hatches" for its first dust storm

Looks like the weather is starting to get unfriendly for Phoenix. According to an entry in the Phoenix blog, a dust storm has blotted out enough of Phoenix' sunlight that the lander had to "hunker down for the weekend until the storm clears, taking minimal observations to conserve power." Apparently the storm was expected to clear up over the weekend (how's that for convenient timing?)

Meanwhile, it's October and therefore fire season here in Los Angeles. Neither of the two rapidly developing wildfires in northern Los Angeles County threatens The Planetary Society, but one is uncomfortably close to my neighborhood, in an apparent repeat of the fire fun we enjoyed three years ago (though this time, I must say, the wind is much worse). I just checked and didn't find any satellite imagery of the fires yet -- neither TERRA nor AQUA has passed over Los Angeles since these fires started, but there are now MODIS maps (which must be based on nighttime infrared imagery) showing the hot spots from today's fires (thanks to a reader for that tip!) I'm not sure how much more DPS coverage I'll be able to do today!

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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Emily Lakdwalla
The Planetary Fund

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