According to information recently shared by the US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), during the Gale Crater exploration, the Curiosity Mars self-propelled vehicle recorded the “dust devil” moving on Red planet surface in early August this past. The dust tornado is seen in the top middle part of the image, captured by Curiosity’s Navcam camera, lasting about 5 minutes.
The photo has not been edited (top) and the image has been processed (below). Dust is often quite blurred, so photos taken by autonomous vehicles often have to go through additional processing steps to make them appear clearer
The “dust devil”, or extremely large dust tornadoes, is a common weather phenomenon on Mars that usually occurs in the vast plains between the volcanoes Tharsis and Elysium, which have similar terrain. flat, dry. Dust devils often occur in the summer on Mars, when the Sun heats the ground, creating heat, creating a column of air swirling into a vertical column with wind speeds greater than 110 km / h, with a height up to 20km.
Although this phenomenon occurs on both Earth and Mars, the scale of the dust devil on the Red Planet is much more frightening, with a size 50 times larger and 10 times higher than those on the dust tornado. Earth. Despite their enormous size, the dust devil on Mars is weaker than the dust tornado on Earth. Mars can reach wind speeds of 110 km / h, but due to its relatively thin airflow, its force is weaker than even mild storms on Earth.
According to NASA, capturing images of dust demons on the Red Planet is difficult to do, partly because our visibility is limited, while this weather phenomenon itself exists only in the relative range. short. Studying these images could reveal a lot about Mars dust demons – such as where they form, how they increase in size, how long they last, what kind of dust they collect and how they change. according to each position.
Looking back on history, humans first captured the first photograph of a dust devil on Mars in 1975 and 1976, when NASA’s Viking spacecraft was on a mission to explore Mars.
Quite interestingly, the dust devil accidentally … rescued Spirit’s self-propelled vehicle’s mission to explore Mars. Accordingly, in 2004, a solar panel of Spirit was covered with a lot of Mars dust during its operation, causing the ability to absorb energy of this self-propelled vehicle seriously impaired.
At that time, a series of systems on Spirit vehicles were suspended due to lack of energy, threatening the survival of NASA’s Mars discovery mission. However, the power of a dust vortex passing through the stationed autonomous vehicle area has “wiped out” the dust on the panels, helping the device get energy from the sun and work normally again.