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NASA’s Perseverance rover captures dust devil on Mars

LOS ANGELES (Xinhua) – NASA’s Perseverance rover has captured dust devil on Mars, the agency said on Friday.

The dust-filled Martian whirlwind was captured moving along the western rim of Mars’ Jezero Crater by Perseverance rover on August 30, the 899th Martian day of the mission, according to NASA.

Much weaker and generally smaller than Earth’s tornadoes, dust devils are one of the mechanisms that move and redistribute dust around Mars. Scientists study them to better understand the Martian atmosphere and improve their weather models.

Dust devils, which occur on Earth as well, form when rising cells of warm air mix with descending columns of cooler air. The Martian versions can grow to be much larger than those found on Earth, according to NASA.

The Perseverance rover was launched from Florida on July 30, 2020, and touched down safely on Mars in February 2021. It is the first rover to bring a sample caching system to Mars that will package promising samples for return to Earth by a future mission.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life.

A dust devil and its shadow were photographed by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2012. A similar dust devil was recorded by one of Perseverance’s microphones. PHOTO: NASA