Aug. 28, 2019
So I was
wasting time looking for dune fields on Mars and I came across a great CTX image that’s just riddled with dust devil tracks. Most of the time that’s all you see, but sometimes you can spy a dust devil or two.
And once in a great while you catch the dust devil engine at maximum. Below is the browse image for one such example.
OK, right, you can’t see any spectacular dust devils looking at this alone. That’s because it’s the browse image, which is a thumbnail of the actual, much bigger image, which would make WordPress pretty annoyed with me if I tried to upload here. So instead I’ve set it so that if you click on the image, you’ll go to the image web page maintained by the Arizona State University Mars Space Flight Facility. From there you can zoom in and out and see all the amazing detail captured by CTX.
What do dust devils look like in CTX images? Bigger ones typically look like this:
They tend to look like little bright columnar poofs that stick up from the ground, casting shadows on the ground that all point to the lower right (because the sun is shining from the upper left).
How many can you find?
I might come back and post a version of the image with all of the ones I’ve found. Some are more obvious than others, if they’re big and opaque with dark shadows. Others are harder to identify (and some that look like dust devils might just be features on the surface that have a similar look). The best way to know for sure if it’s a real dust devil is to look at another image from some other day. Dust devils are transient, so they won’t be in the same places in overlapping images from different days – depending on the season they may not be there at all in other images.