Back in February, each of these three countries landed a rover on Mars: the USA, the UAE, and China. Astronomers learn more about our neighbouring planet year by year, and there’s no telling when they will stop. Any data gathered can be precious, as officials of agencies such as SpaceX realistically hope to see astronauts on the Red Planet in the near future.
But until we’ll get that enormous privilege of living during the same time with the first humans who will land on Mars, we are free to amaze and amuse ourselves with the latest news about the rovers that are already exploring the Red Planet’s surface.
A dust devil is crossing Mars’ Jezero Crater
Space.com reveals that engineers who are in charge of the Perseverance mission saw a whirlwind in images captured by a camera mounted on the rover. Although there’s no info yet regarding the size and speed of the ‘dust devil’, NASA published footage of the structure.
Spotted a dust devil. You can see it in the distance behind my robotic arm in this enhanced/processed view. The dust devil is moving right to left and creating whirlwinds of dust in its path. pic.twitter.com/t18DxdcSTw
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 16, 2021
Dust devils can occur on both Mars and our planet. These whirlwinds are usually harmless, but they can sometimes grow large enough to become a threat. Dust devils aren’t too lasting, either, and they range from small (from half a meter wide to a few meters tall) to large (over 10 metres wide and more than one kilometre tall). Although dust devils are comparable to tornadoes, there is at least a significant difference between the two phenomenons. As dust devils form under sunny conditions during fair weather, they rarely come close to a tornado’s intensity.
As we’ve written in a previous article, scientists are proposing a new theory explaining the disappearance of the large amounts of water from ancient Mars. They claim that a significant part of that water got trapped inside minerals that are buried below the crust of our neighbouring planet.