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: Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

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

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

2 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

5 hours ago

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

A full-spectrum Mars simulation in a box

6 hours ago

There are many reasons why Mars excels at destroying expensive equipment. For one thing, its entire surface is made of partially-magnetized dust. For another, Mars possesses just enough atmosphere so that ...

LADEE mission ends with planned lunar impact

6 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft impacted the surface ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...