02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Is New Social Media Game
08.04.2016 Mars Rover Social Media Game
08.02.2016 Artist Concept for RIMFAX
07.20.2016 Viking 40 Year Anniversary Artwork: Medal
07.18.2016 Mars 2020 Range Trigger
07.14.2016 NASA to Launch Mars Rover in 2020
Martian Dust Devil with Track and ShadowThis telescopic view from orbit around Mars catches a Martian dust devil in action in the planet's southern hemisphere. The swirling vortex of dust can be seen near the center of the image. The shadow cast by this column of dust can be seen in the upper left while the dark track left by the passage of the dust devil is evident in the lower right.
This is a cutout from an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on June 15, 2009. The scene is at 68.6 degrees south latitude, 11.4 degrees east longitude.
Dust devils on Mars form the same way that they do on Earth. The ground heats up during the daytime, warming the air immediately above the surface. This hot layer of air rises and the cooler air above falls, creating vertical convection cells. A horizontal gust of wind causes the convection cells to rotate, resulting in a dust devil. As the dust devil moves across the surface of Mars it can pick up and disturb loose dust, leaving behind a track.
Full-frame images from this HiRISE observation, catalogued as ESP_013545_1110, are at http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ESP_013545_1110. The image was taken at 3:07 p.m. local Mars time, with the sun 37 degrees above the horizon. The season was summer in the southern hemisphere of Mars.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona