NASA's HiRISE captured a twisting column of dust more than half a mile (800 meters) high and about 30 meters in diameter on Feb. 16, 2012, while the orbiter passed over the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars. The paths of previous whirlwinds, or dust devils, are visible as streaks on the dusty surface taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been examining Mars with six science instruments since 2006. Now in an extended mission, the orbiter continues to provide insights into the planet’s ancient environments and how processes such as wind, meteorite impacts and seasonal frosts continue to affect the Martian surface today. This mission has returned more data about Mars than all other orbital and surface missions combined.More than 21,700 images taken by HiRISE are available for viewing on the instrument team’s website: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu . Each observation by this telescopic camera covers several square miles, or square kilometers, and can reveal features as small as a desk.
The Daily Galaxy via nasa.gov and mwvastronomy.net
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