Dust devils on Mars

Dust devils on Mars

Most of us have seen a dust devil on a sunny day in Arizona, but did you know they can be found on Mars as well?  According to earthsky.com, a team of students from the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory spotted eight dust devils on a single afternoon while observing the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  Here are the images that were captured, courtesy of HiRISE.

Paul Geissler of the HiRISE team said that the two dust devils in the top of the image are spaced about 800 feet apart.  He added:

These two have quite different morphologies. The bigger one (on the right) is about 100 meters in diameter and is shaped like a doughnut with a hole in the middle. Its smaller companion is more compact and plume-like, but it too has a small hole in the center, where the air pressure is lowest. It may be that the smaller dust devil is younger than the larger one.  

In case you were wondering, HiRISE stands for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.  It is a 40 million dollar camera and is the largest aperture reflecting telescope ever sent on a space mission.

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