NASA Mars Perseverance Rover fights “dust devils”, reveals new Secrets
NASA Mars Perseverance Rover has been dealing with dust devils in the Jezero Crater. Meanwhile, it has unveiled new secrets about the planet.
Ever since NASA Mars Perseverance Rover first landed in February 2021, it has been collecting rock samples, analysing the terrain and trying to find evidence of former microbial life on the planet. However, its mission has been impacted by one of the harshest weather phenomena of the planet called dust devils in the Jezero crater, the rover's landing site. Dust devils are huge whirlwinds that carry and move around dust along with it. But in its over 200 days of planetary exploration, it has also begun studying these dust devils. And it turns out that scientists have found out new information about Mars because of it.
The details of these observations have also been documented in a paper which was published in the Science Advances journal. The paper has noted the weather conditions on Mars in the first 216 Martian days spent by the rover. NASA has stated that the study has enabled it to gain a better understanding of the dust processes on Mars and has taken them one step closer to predicting them.
NASA Mars Perseverance Rover studies dust devils
The observations necessary to document these weather phenomena were made primarily using the cameras of Mars Perseverance Rover as well as a specific sensor in its body called Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA). With its wind and light sensors, MEDA can detect whirlwinds around the rover. In 2021, Perseverance even captured a video of a gust of Martian dust. You can check the video here.
“Every time we land in a new place on Mars, it's an opportunity to better understand the planet's weather. We had a regional dust storm right on top of us in January, but we're still in the middle of the dust season, so we're very likely to see more dust storms,” the lead author of the study, Claire Newman, told NASA.
The Jezero crater is also being called one of the most active sources of dust on the planet. The study noted that the NASA Perseverance Rover faced at least four whirlwinds on average in Mars. Some of the dust clouds formed by these gusts of winds were as large as 4 square kilometres. As the rover studies the environment of the red planet, scientists expect to learn more about this unique phenomena.
More From This Section