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Sci-Tech

See dust clouds storm across Mars in startling image

A Mars dust storm rolls out like an apocalyptic vision in the image from the European Space Agency.

People here on Earth have been following news of the global dust storm on Mars that's hobbled one NASA rover and created hazy skies around another

The European Space Agency's orbiting Mars Express spacecraft caught an eye-opening look at dust clouds making their way across the planet prior to the development of that massive storm.

Mars Express caught sight of these dust clouds in April.

ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

Mars Express captured the view of the clouds near Mars' north polar ice cap in April and ESA shared it on Thursday. It shows a fluffy-looking line of dust encroaching across the landscape.

ESA calls it "one of several local small-scale dust storms" seen earlier this year. The space agency says Mars is experiencing a particularly intense dust storm season.

Scientists are interested in studying dust storms on Mars considering the goal of eventually landing humans on the Red Planet. "Understanding more about how global storms form and evolve will be critical for future solar-powered missions to Mars," ESA says.

While the current global dust hullabaloo is showing signs of settling down, NASA still hasn't regained contact with the hibernating Opportunity rover. It hopes the rover will reawaken after the storm.