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Surreal Sight: Mars Rover Captures Colossal Disturbance on Red Planet’s Surface

NASA's Perseverance Rover Captures Mile-High Dust Devil
Source: NASA

NASA's Perseverance rover recently observed and recorded a remarkable dust devil on Mars.

Oct. 4 2023, Published 4:12 p.m. ET

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NASA's Perseverance rover recorded a remarkable dust devil on Mars reaching over a mile in height, the agency announced.

The images were recorded on August 30, 2023, as the rover was exploring the rim of the Jezero Crater, its initial landing site, reported.

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It was the 899th "Martian day" of the Perseverance mission, according to NASA.

The Perseverance rover captured a series of 21 images, with each taken four seconds apart, providing a detailed view of the lower portion of the colossal dust devil. NASA released images and videos of the mission.

From the collected imagery, scientists estimated that the dust devil spanned approximately 200 feet in width. While only 387 feet of the height of the vortex was visible in the photos, experts calculated that it stood at an astonishing 1.2 miles high, based on the shadow of the dust devil.

The dust devil was observed moving east to west at a speed of approximately 12 mph, NASA announced.

Dust devils on the Red Planet, while weaker and smaller compared to Earth's tornadoes, play a crucial role in scientific understanding of the Martian atmosphere.

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They form when warm air rises and interacts with cooler descending air, serving as mechanisms to transport and redistribute dust across the planet's surface. Studying these phenomena provides valuable insights into Martian weather patterns and atmospheric behavior.

Both the Perseverance rover and its predecessor, Curiosity, actively monitor for dust devils as part of NASA's scientific investigations. These observations contribute to a better understanding of Mars' atmosphere and aid in the refinement of weather models.

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Perseverance, which landed on Mars in 2020, is dedicated to studying the planet's geology, climate, and potential signs of past microbial life.

It is the first mission to collect Martian broken rocks and dust, with future missions planned to retrieve these samples and return them to Earth for analysis. The rover's work serves as a stepping stone toward human exploration of Mars.


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