Dust Devil Etch-A-Sketch
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Dust Devil Etch-A-Sketch
ESP_013751_1115  Science Theme: Landscape Evolution
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This “etch-a-sketch” appearance indicates the presence of dust devil activity in the Thyles Rupes region of Mars.

The dark streaks are a result of a surface-atmosphere interaction that creates thermally-driven vortices. These Martian vortices are giant dust devils that “vacuum” the bright surface dust revealing the darker subsurface rock.

This image was taken in the late southern summer and shows that the dust devil direction of movement changes with the winds as the season progresses from spring to fall. Dust devils are sensitive to changes in low-speed ambient winds and will follow the dominant daytime wind direction.

The direction of the vortex is visible by the scallop pattern that is left behind as a dust devil will erase the front part of the circular track as it follows the wind.

Written by: Circe Verba   (19 August 2009)



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Acquisition date:02 July 2009 Local Mars time: 2:50 PM
Latitude (centered):-68.531° Longitude (East):145.020°
Range to target site:251.0 km (156.9 miles)Original image scale range:50.2 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~151 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:50 cm/pixelMap projection:Polarstereographic
Emission angle:6.9° Phase angle:57.9°
Solar incidence angle:53°, with the Sun about 37° above the horizon Solar longitude:296.3°, Northern Winter
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:45.4°
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North azimuth:55.02°Sub solar azimuth:3.319°

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.