Dust devils to the rescue! Martian squeegee guys caught?
This is an interesting development: In a story HERE today by ace space reporter Leonard David, he reports that Spirit saw a major, sudden power boost, restoring it to almost its original power level (from 60 percent to 93 percent, almost instantly), apparently as a result of a dust devil cleaning the dust off the solar panels. This is a terrific boon to the mission, giving them a lot more power to work with.
But, interestingly, there is no mention in the story of any visual sighting of the dust devils, just the inference that they must be responsible, and must be especially active now. I'm not sure exactly when the power surge was, but as far as I can tell it was yesterday (Thursday), same as the sightings.
The piece does quote one unnamed scientist saying that "Gusev was alive with dust devils," partly because the rover's tracks kept getting wiped clean. Nothing about seeing them.
There's a joking reference in the story to Martian squeegee men having cleaned off the solar panels. Well, now it turns out the surveillance cameras may have caught the Martian squeegee men in the act!