PIA03608: Solar-Panel Dust Accumulation and Cleanings
Target Name: Mars
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: Mars Exploration Rover (MER)
Spacecraft: Opportunity
Spirit
Product Size: 896 x 549 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: JPL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA03608.tif (494.2 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA03608.jpg (57.98 kB)

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Original Caption Released with Image:

Air-fall dust accumulates on the solar panels of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the solar arrays. Pre-launch models predicted steady dust accumulation. However, the rovers have been blessed with occasional wind events that clear significant amounts of dust from the solar panels.

This graph shows the effects of those panel-cleaning events on the amount of electricity generated by Spirit's solar panels. The horizontal scale is the number of Martian days (sols) after Spirit's Jan. 4, 2005, (Universal Time) landing on Mars. The vertical scale indicates output from the rover's solar panels as a fraction of the amount produced when the clean panels first opened. Note that the gradual declines are interrupted by occasional sharp increases, such as a dust-cleaning event on sol 420.

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image Addition Date:
2005-12-05