NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity has captured an image of a dust devil swirling in the Meridiani Planun, the rover’s home since it landed on Mars in 2004.
The rover was on a mission to investigate minerals on the Knudsen Ridge within Marathon Valley.
Dust devils are not uncommon on Mars. In fact, recent studies have shown that Martian dust devils, which can reach as high as several miles, play a key atmospheric role in transporting fine particles of dust from the surface, injecting it high into the atmosphere.
Dust devils are also helpful in cleaning the solar panels of the Martian rovers. This evidence comes from noting power boosts in the rover after their passage.