Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Summertime Dust Devil

By SpaceRef Editor
August 26, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-464, 26 August 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

Dust devils are spinning, columnar vortices of air that move
across a landscape, picking up dust as they go. They are common
occurrences during summer on Mars.
This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image,
acquired during northern summer, shows a dust devil in the
Phlegra region of Mars near 32.0°N, 182.1°W.
Sunlight illuminates the scene from the lower left; the dust
devil is casting a columnar shadow toward the upper right. Some
dust devils on Mars make streaks as they disrupt the fine
coating of dust on the surface–but others do not make streaks.
This one did not make a streak. The view shown here is 3 km
(1.9 mi) wide.

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.