Mars Rover Perseverance Captures Video of Massive Martian Dust Devil

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Image source: NASA

On August 30th, NASA’s Perseverance rover’s navigation cameras captured footage of a massive dust devil in the Martian atmosphere. The recording was taken from a distance of approximately 4 kilometers and showed the lower part of the dust devil, which reached a height of 2 kilometers.

Studying Martian dust devils is crucial for modeling weather phenomena on Mars. It is believed that these dust devils play a significant role in distributing dust across the Red Planet. Rovers on Mars can observe such phenomena up close, and sometimes, they even manage to record the sounds associated with them.

A month ago, NASA’s Perseverance rover recorded a rare video featuring a massive dust devil. The rover’s navigation cameras captured only the lower part of the dust devil, which was about 118 meters tall. The dust devil had a width of up to 60 meters and was moving at a speed of 19 kilometers per hour. Judging by the shadow cast by the dust devil and other parameters, the airborne vortex reached a height of 2 kilometers. The NASA video presented here shows the dust devil’s movement sped up 20 times, reconstructed from frames taken at a 4-second interval. A total of 21 frames were captured.

“We don’t see the top of the dust devil, but the shadow it casts gives us a good idea of its height. Most of these are just vertical columns. If this dust devil has that configuration, its shadow indicates it is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) tall,” said Mark Lemmon, a planetary scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and a member of the Perseverance science team.

The dust devil was spotted by the Perseverance rover as it traveled along the western rim of Jezero Crater. In ancient Mars’ history, this area was the mouth of a river that flowed into a lake. Therefore, sedimentary rocks in this region may contain signs of past life, and the rover is collecting samples in containers for future return to Earth, with NASA planning a sample return mission later in the decade.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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