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Space & Astronomy

Mars rover records footage of 'dust devil' up to 1.2 miles tall

By T.K. Randall
October 10, 2023 · Comment icon 1 comment
Dust devil filmed by the Mars Perseverance rover.
The footage is quite eerie actually. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Estimates suggest that the otherworldly whirlwind was around 5 times the height of the Empire State Building.
Mars might not have much of an atmosphere these days, but that doesn't stop it from being home to some of the biggest dust storms found on any known terrestrial world.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover recently caught a glimpse of the Martian wind in action when it filmed video footage of a dust devil moving across a distant ridge around 2.5 miles away.

Moving at approximately 12mph, the twister was around 200ft wide and while from the video it is only possible to see it reach up to 387ft in the air, scientists estimate that it's true size was much larger - stretching skyward up to 1.2 miles (that's 5 times larger than the Empire State Building).
"We don't see the top of the dust devil, but the shadow it throws gives us a good indication of its height," said planetary scientist Mark Lemmon of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

"Most are vertical columns. If this dust devil were configured that way, its shadow would indicate it is about 1.2 miles [2 km] in height."

On average, it is estimated that, on any given day, there could be one dust devil per square kilometer on Mars - that's a whopping 145 million a day.

You can check out the rover's time-lapse footage below.

Source: Live Science | Comments (1)

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Comment icon #1 Posted by DieChecker 5 months ago
I was reading this the other day and thought it was very interesting. Someday humans will see these dust devils with their own eyes, I hope... It was interesting to me that it was so big. I thought it was close to the camera at first when I watched the video. (Video of sequential images, that is)

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