Anyone who thinks that the planet Mars is a dry and dull place will be surprised by the images captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) satellite. Searching for dunes, the orbiter clicked a spectacular swirl of dust “dancing” and redesigning the Martian dunes.
According to the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Experiment) team, the MRO observed a set of dunes within a depression north of the Antoniadi crater, when, by sheer luck, it captured “nature in action”, in this case a swirl of dust well defined crossing the dunes, and making a dark design with the material dug up from the subsurface.
HiRISE experts, who receive the MRO images at the University of Arizona, were able to share a clear and extensive view of where the dust swirl made their trails. From the point of view of the camera placed in the orbit of the red planet, the violent force of the Martian wind is more like a brush outlining a landscape.
As the MRO is always sending images on a daily basis, the HiRISE team takes a while to process the best ones. In the case of the “solitary whirlwind”, released on Thursday (4), the image was taken on January 30, 2020, at an altitude of 285 kilometers from the Martian soil.