Mars is a planet that never ceases to amaze us. If we were already captivated by the photograph of a sunset and left in awe by images of various rocks that might suggest the impact of an alien spacecraft, both captured by NASA’s famous rover Curiosity, a new photograph taken on the red planet surprises us once again.
NASA’s Perseverance rover, also captured a dust whirlwind on Mars’ Jezero Crater on August 30. After over two years of exploring the red planet, the rover’s navigation cameras recorded a video that will be invaluable for investigating Mars’ weather patterns.
Dust whirlwinds, also present on Earth, form when solar rays heat the ground, causing convective air uplift. Martian dust clouds can surpass Earth’s in size, and their appearance is unpredictable.
With a width of 60 meters, the dust whirlwind traveled from east to west at a speed of about 19 km/h. Although the rover’s images only captured the lower 118 meters of the whirlwind, NASA scientists estimate its total height to be around 2 kilometers.
According to NASA, these whirlwinds play a crucial role in redistributing dust on Mars, aiding scientists in studying the planet’s atmosphere and enhancing meteorological algorithms.
This isn’t the first time the “rover siblings” have captured images of these intriguing dust columns. In 2017, the navigation cameras aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover observed several whirlwinds carrying Martian dust across the Gale Crater.