Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Big Dust Devils

By SpaceRef Editor
January 28, 2005
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-985, 28 January 2005

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Northern Amazonis Planitia is famous for its frequent,
large (> 1 km high) dust devils. They occur throughout the
spring and summer seasons, and can be detected from orbit,
even at the ~240 meters (~278 yards) per pixel resolution of
the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
wide angle instruments. This red wide angle
image shows a plethora of large dust devils. The arrow
points to an example. Shadows cast by the towering
columns of swirling dust point away from the direction
of sunlight illumination (sun is coming from the left/lower
left). This December 2004 scene covers an area more than 125 km
(> 78 mi) across and is located near 37°N, 154°W.

Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology
built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission.
MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Surveyor Operations Project
operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial
partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena,
California and Denver, Colorado.

SpaceRef staff editor.