National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
Dust Devil East of Hellas Planitia
Dust Devil East of Hellas Planitia
18 Jul 2007
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory/University of Arizona)

This image is of a region east of the Hellas impact basin and south of Reull Vallis. Unexpectedly, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE instrument caught a dust devil blowing across the Martian surface in the southwest portion of the image.

Unexpectedly, MRO's HiRISE instrument caught a dust devil blowing across the Martian surface.
Unexpectedly, MRO's HiRISE instrument caught a dust devil blowing across the Martian surface.
Dust devils form when the temperature of the atmosphere near the ground is much warmer than that above. The hot air rises, and under ideal conditions, forms a vortex that sucks in more warm air. If the vortex is strong enough, it will raise dust off the surface, forming a dust devil.

Dust devils generally form in the afternoon because the sunlight needs sufficient time to warm the surface. When this image was taken, the local time was about 3:08 p.m.

The bright material is the dust within the vortex, and a dark shadow cast by the dust devil is visible to the right. The diameter of this dust devil is about 200 meters, but at the surface it is probably much smaller. Based on the length of the shadow in this image, the dust devil is on the order of 500 meters tall.

More image sizes are available from the University of Arizona's HiRISE site: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/PSP_004285_1375

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
 
 
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 18 Jul 2007