Martian Dust Devils Are Much More Powerful Than Terrestrial Dust Devils

Posted on May 28, 2011

Martian Dust Devil

Dust devils on Earth are usually small and weak with maximum winds of 60 mph. On Mars dust devils are a much different story. Martian dust devils, first photographed in the 1970s, are 50 times wider and 10 times taller than terrestrial dust devils on average. The massive dust devils can even trigger lightning bolts.

NASA says dust devils photographed on Mars from orbit have been as large as 1 to 2 kilometers across their base and 8 to 10 kilometers high. NASA also says the enormous dust devils can generate magnetic fields. You can see a larger version of the animated gif of a Martian dust devil (above), filmed by Mars rover Spirit, here.

Take a look:

Image: Martian dust devil, filmed by Spirit/NASA


More from Science Space & Robots