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
Signs of a Whirlwind in Gale CraterTwenty-one times during the first 12 weeks that NASA's Mars rover Curiosity worked on Mars, the rover's Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) detected brief dips in air pressure that could be caused by a passing whirlwind. The blue line in this chart shows two examples, both shortly after 11 a.m. local Mars time, when the air pressure dipped on the 75th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Oct. 25, 2012). In both cases, wind direction monitored by REMS changed within a few seconds of the dip in pressure, as indicated by the green line on the chart. That is additional evidence that the pressure dips were whirlwinds.
A Finnish, Spanish and American team is using REMS, which Spain provided for Curiosity, to watch for signs of dust devils -- whirlwinds carrying dust.
In many regions of Mars, dust-devil tracks and shadows have been photographed from orbit, but those visual clues have not been seen at Gale Crater, where Curiosity is working. The evidence from REMS indicates that whirlwinds may be forming in Gale Crater. While Curiosity is watching for them with cameras on some days, researchers are also considering the possibility that these swirling, convective winds do not lift as much dust at Gale as in other parts of Mars.
In this chart, the air-pressure scale is in Pascals. The wind direction scale is an estimate in degrees relative to the front of the rover. On Sol 75, the rover was facing approximately westward, and 90 degrees on this graph indicates winds coming from the north.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ CAB (CSIC-INTA)