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NASA Officials Worry Mars Rovers Could Be Damaged By Storms

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - They've been going and going, but now there are concerns that the two rovers exploring Mars could finally be knocked out.

Mission scientists are expressing worries that nearly a month's worth of storms could permanently damage or disable the two vehicles.

"Opportunity" is taking the biggest hit. A series of severe Martian summer dust storms is blocking 99% of the direct sunlight it needs to charge its batteries. And, its companion, Spirit, is also affected, although to a lesser extent.

NASA scientists have posted a statement on the agency's Web site saying, "We're rooting for our rovers to survive these storms." But the conditions are more severe than what the space explorers were built to withstand.

The rovers have been exploring Mars since landing in 2004. The mission was originally planned to last for only three months.
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