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Mars dust devils leave their mark on the landscape

Dust devils on Mars aren’t any joke, with some rising as tall as tornadoes on Earth. The whirlwinds typically scour the Martian floor, abandoning telltale indicators of their presence. 

A latest global dust storm on Mars, which is now receding, appears to have left a dust satan calling card in a brand new picture from the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft launched on Wednesday.  

This assortment of scratch-like streaks was probably attributable to dust devils.


ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS

The processed view reveals an alien-looking terrain described as “chaotic blocks.” The floor seems to be like an enormous clawed hand reached down and scratched it throughout, revealing darkish streaks towards a lighter-colored background. 

Dust devils are widespread on Mars. NASA’s rovers have seen them from ground level. NASA’s now-defunct Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft even caught a dust devil in the act of making a dark streak again in 1999.   

Though ESA titled the picture “dust devil tracks on Mars,” the house company is leaving the door open for different explanations for the distinctive marks, calling dust devils “one possible interpretation” for the darkish streaks. 

The options bear a robust resemblance to marks seen in a 2016 image from NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey mission. NASA says the scratch-like strains “are made by dust devil activity scouring the surface and removing the lighter toned dust to reveal the darker rocky surface below.”


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