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HomeLatest NewsGiant dust devil spotted on Mars KXan 36 Daily News

Giant dust devil spotted on Mars KXan 36 Daily News

Date: February 28, 2024 Time: 18:13:12

NASA astronomers have obtained a detailed image of the swirling dust, so-called giant vortices, which are a unique feature of Mars. Judging by the shadows in the image, the height of this vortex is calculated in kilometers.

According to Phys.org, the image was taken in Mariner Valley using the powerful HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Experiment) camera installed aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The image, striking in its clarity, depicts a giant dust eddy. It crosses the Martian plateau.

One feature of dust eddies is that scientists have successfully used their shadows to estimate their height. She, according to current estimates, reaches 20 kilometers. The resulting image will help astronomers to study the nature of these phenomena. Dust eddies are common on Mars, but remain a mystery to the scientific community. The mechanism of their formation is not well understood.

“We think it’s similar to Earth in many ways,” says Dr. Shane Byrne, deputy director of the HiRISE project. “On Earth, dust vortices are powered primarily by solar energy. The Earth heats up, so the air begins to rise in columns. If the spine rotates, it can shrink and spin faster. As long as there is hot air down there, the dust eddies can survive. If the dust eddies stop moving or travel over cooler ground, they dissipate.”

On Mars, arid regions covered in dust can also have very hot surfaces, the temperatures of which vary throughout the day, the researchers believe. Therefore, they are potential sources for the formation of dust eddies. The latter soar into the Martian sky, but are also known for their ability to leave streaks on the Red Planet’s surface. By the way, the study of traces that literally overlap each other allows scientists to trace the activity of such processes.

“Dust plumes contribute to the base level of dust in the Martian atmosphere, which is an important factor in climate and global warming,” says Dr. Colin Dundas, a researcher in the USGS Astrogeology Science Center. “They also change the surface and can brush off dust from solar panels.” spacecraft like Mars Exploration Rovers”.

Scientists note that Earth and Mars have similar characteristics of their dust eddies. For example, analogues of Martian dust eddies are regularly recorded in the Mojave Desert. Meanwhile, it is believed that the formation of dust eddies must be influenced by atmospheric pressure and the angle between the axis of rotation of the planet and its orbital axis. And this is also surprising, because the planets have different axial inclination. In addition, the atmospheric pressure on Earth is much higher than on Mars.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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