Pic of the Week: Marian Dust Devils

Image (Credit): Dust devils swirling across Jezero Crater, as viewed by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

This week’s image is from earlier this year when NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured whirling dust on the Red Planet’s surface. Here is more on the dust devils from NASA:

During its first couple hundred days in Jezero Crater, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover saw some of the most intense dust activity ever witnessed by a mission sent to the Red Planet’s surface. Not only did the rover detect hundreds of dust-bearing whirlwinds called dust devils, Perseverance captured the first video ever recorded of wind gusts lifting a massive Martian dust cloud.

A paper recently published in Science Advances chronicles the trove of weather phenomena observed in the first 216 Martian days, or sols. The new findings enable scientists to better understand dust processes on Mars and contribute to a body of knowledge that could one day help them predict the dust storms that Mars is famous for – and that pose a threat to future robotic and human explorers.

“Every time we land in a new place on Mars, it’s an opportunity to better understand the planet’s weather,” said the paper’s lead author, Claire Newman of Aeolis Research, a research company focused on planetary atmospheres. She added there may be more exciting weather on the way: “We had a regional dust storm right on top of us in January, but we’re still in the middle of dust season, so we’re very likely to see more dust storms.”