Wind-Driven Traveler on Mars (Spirit Sol 486)
A dust devil spins across the surface of Gusev Crater just before noon on Mars. NASA's Spirit rover took the series of images in this spectacular 21-frame animation with its navigation camera on the rover's martian day, or sol, 486 (March 15, 2005).
The event occurred during a period of 9 minutes and 35 seconds beginning at 11:48 a.m. local Mars time, recording the dust devil's progress in a northeasterly direction about 1.0 kilometer (0.62 mile) away from Spirit's perch on the slopes of the "Columbia Hills." The whirlwind was traveling at about 4.8 meters per second (16 feet per second) and covered a distance of about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile).
Contrast has been enhanced for anything in the images that changes from frame to frame, that is, for the dust devil. The dust devil is about 34 meters (112 feet) in diameter.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL
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