NASA's latest Mars rover has captured some incredible footage of a dust devil gliding across the Martian surface.
The footage was captured on August 30, 2023, by NASA's Mars rover named Perseverance, with the selection of images that were then converted into the above GIF being snapped by the rover's Navigation Cameras.
The video is comprised of 21 frames that were taken four seconds a part and then sped up 20x. As with dust devils on Earth, Martian dust devils form in a similar way - pockets of hot air close to the surface of the planet rise sharply through the cooler air above it, creating a vortex.
NASA estimates that while Perseverance was only able to capture the bottom half of the dust devil, the entirety of the event would have stretched some 1.2 miles in altitude. As for speed, NASA estimated that the Martian dust devil was traveling at speeds of 12 mph.
"We don't see the top of the dust devil, but the shadow it throws gives us a good indication of its height. Most are vertical columns. If this dust devil were configured that way, its shadow would indicate it is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) in height," said Mark Lemmon, a planetary scientist at the Space Science Institute (SSI) and a member of the Perseverance science team
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