05.15.2017 From 'Tribulation' to 'Perseverance' on Mars
03.29.2017 A Decade of Compiling the Sharpest Mars Map
03.09.2017 Back-to-Back Martian Dust Storms
02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
03.21.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 For a Decade Orbiting Mars: One Recent View
03.09.2016 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter By the Numbers
03.01.2016 MRO sees Frosty Spring Slopes
02.12.2016 Women in Science
02.10.2016 Wind at Work
11.16.2015 Change Observed in Martian Sand Dune
10.05.2015 'The Martian' Story's Ares 4 Landing Site
10.05.2015 The Ares 3 Landing Site (Figure A)
09.30.2015 Avalanche Ho!
06.29.2015 Mars Exploration Zone Layout Considerations
06.17.2015 Active High-Latitude Dune Gullies
06.03.2015 Crisp Crater in Sirenum Fossae
05.20.2015 Sedimentary Rock Layers on a Crater Floor
05.20.2015 Honey, I Shrunk the Mesas
05.11.2015 Icy Wonderland
05.04.2015 Diverse Orbits Around Mars
03.27.2015 South Pole Spiders
03.27.2015 A Smile a Day....
03.25.2015 Pitted Landforms in Southern Hellas Planitia
03.12.2015 Curiosity Heading Away from 'Pahrump Hills'
02.18.2015 Lava Flow Near the Base of Olympus Mons
02.09.2015 Yardangs in Arsinoes Chaos, Mars
02.04.2015 Curiosity Rover at 'Pahrump Hills'
01.22.2015 Frost on Crater Slope
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