been marking up Mars?
This portion of a recent
high-resolution picture from the HiRISE camera
on board the
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows twisting
dark trails criss-crossing light colored terrain on the martian surface.
Newly formed trails like these had presented researchers with
a tantalizing martian mystery but are now known to be the work of miniature
wind vortices known to occur on
the red planet -
martian dust devils.
Such spinning columns of
heated by the warm surface
are also common in dry and desert areas on
Typically lasting only a few minutes,
dust devils becoming visible
as they pick up loose red-colored dust leaving the darker and heavier sand beneath intact.
dust devils can be up to 8 kilometers
Dust devils have been credited with
cleanings of mars rover solar panels.
LPL (U. Arizona),