It's a twister - and other amazing photos from Mars

It's a twister - and other amazing photos from Mars

Summary: NASA's HRISE camera catches a half-mile tall dust devil on the Martian surface. Plus, other newer images from the Red Planet.

TOPICS: Hardware

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  • The phenomenon of dust devils on the Martian surface has been known for year but the best image of one was recently taken by NASA's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    Dust Devils are spinning columns of air that pull dust from the surface to form a column. They are similar to a tornado on Earth but they differ because they are usually developed on a clear day when the sun warms the ground and air directly above. Then the warmer air rises through a small pocket of cooler air and may begin to rotate. Dust Devils occur on Earth, too.

    This twister is about a half a mile tall.

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

  • Although we knew dust devils existed on Mars, the Mars rover Spirit got the first real look at one in 2005.

    Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

  • Here are dust devil tracks as they left their mark on the Martian surface.

    Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Topic: Hardware

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  • Those tracks look like tatoos

    Those tracks look like tatoos :)
    Tomas M.
  • You Are Right

    Tomas; I collect vintage Underground Comix. This landscape zoomed could be done by R. Crumb on meth.
    Otis Driftwood
  • Strange projection effects

    Although the shadow should appear as (essentially) a parallel projection of the smoke pattern, this is very hard to see in the picture displayed.
  • Web Designed

    Thank You
  • disparity

    Hey, is this a made up image like the appolo11??
    the curvature of the twister and its shadow does seem to match....little drawn oout.....
  • Full Martian dust devil image available at

    The full uncropped image of this dust devil is available on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE Camera website at -- scroll down to "Image Products" -- I assure you, disparity, that no photos acquired during the Apollo nor Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter missions are faked.