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News Release Archive:

News Release 111 of 180

July 1, 1997 10:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1997-23

Hubble's Look At Mars Shows Canyon Dust Storm, Cloudy Conditions For Pathfinder Landing

July 1, 1997: Hubble telescope pictures of Mars, taken June 27, 1997 in preparation for the July 4 landing of the Pathfinder spacecraft, show a dust storm churning through the deep canyons of Valles Marineris, just 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of the Pathfinder spacecraft landing site.

Astronomers also report the presence of patchy cirrus clouds over the landing site and very thick clouds to the north. Because there are so many clouds (related to low temperatures in the atmosphere causing water vapor to freeze), the dust will probably stay confined to the canyons, they conclude. The green cross on the bottom picture identifies the Pathfinder landing site.

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Credit: Phil James (Univ. Toledo), Steve Lee (Univ. Colorado) and Mike Wolff (Univ. Toledo) and NASA