Dust Devils Whip By Spirit

Apr 13, 2007

On sol 1120 (February 26, 2007), the navigation camera aboard NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured one of the best dust devils it’s seen in its three-plus year mission. The series of navigation camera images were put together to make a dust devil movie.

The dust devil column is clearly defined and is clearly bent in the down wind direction. Near the end of the movie, the base of the dust devil becomes much wider. The atmospheric science team thinks that this is because the dust devil encountered some sand and therefore produced a "saltation skirt,” an apron of material that is thrown out of the dust devil because it is too large to be carried up into suspension.

Also near the end of the movie the dust devil seems to move faster across the surface. This is because Spirit began taking pictures less frequently, and not because the dust devil sped up.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new twist on tornado study

May 12, 2009

Funny thing about tornadoes. When they ought to drop out of the sky, they usually don't. Despite all the radar looking for them, no one quite knows when or where they'll appear.

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.