Perseverance rover spots its first dust devil on Mars

NASA’s latest Mars rover nabbed a major extraterrestrial sighting when an onboard digicam occurred to identify a Red Planet dust devil crossing Jezero Crater.Engineers on the Perseverance rover mission noticed the whirlwind within the distance of pictures captured by one of many rover’s cameras because the dust made its means behind the rover’s robotic arm. NASA printed footage of the dust devil however has not launched estimates of its dimension or pace.”Spotted a dust devil. You can see it in the distance behind my robotic arm in this enhanced/processed view. The dust devil is moving right to left and creating whirlwinds of dust in its path,” Perseverance mission representatives wrote in a tweet late Tuesday (March 16).Related: Where to search out the newest Mars photographs from NASA’s Perseverance roverSpotted a dust devil. You can see it within the distance behind my robotic arm on this enhanced/processed view. The dust devil is shifting proper to left and creating whirlwinds of dust in its path. 16, 2021See moreAs you may see on this enhanced video (which incorporates audio obtained earlier within the mission), the dust devil strikes from proper to left, starting on the far proper aspect of the animation. Perseverance solely landed on Mars on Feb. 18 and has spent roughly 25 Red Planet days, referred to as “sols,” on the floor.Dust devils occur on each Earth and the Red Planet. These spinning air columns are made seen from the dust they kick off the bottom. On Earth, often dust devils type on clear days when the bottom picks up numerous warmth from the solar. Under the correct circumstances, heated air near the floor could begin rotating whereas it rises via small segments of cooler air farther up. NASA’s Perseverance rover has noticed its first Martian dust devil, seen right here as a puff of dust at heart proper. (Image credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)Mars is approaching aphelion, when it’s farthest in its orbit from the solar, however it’s clear that photo voltaic power remains to be robust sufficient to create dust devils. And scientists have seen aphelion dust devils earlier than: During the 2012 aphelion, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter noticed a comparatively colossal dust devil at 2,600 toes (800 meters) in peak and 98 toes (30 meters) in diameter. That spacecraft’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) digicam even noticed a swarm of dust devils in 2015.In truth, spacecraft as previous because the Viking missions of the 1970s have seen dust devils. But as a result of the phenomena are fleeting, missions typically have to attend a few years to identify one. NASA’s Opportunity did not see a dust devil till 2010, about seven years into its mission. Its twin rover, Spirit, captured an unbelievable video of dust devils racing throughout the floor in a bunch in 2005, about two years into the duo’s Mars Exploration Rover mission.Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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