This gorgeous Mars dust devil twirled for a NASA camera

Windy, dusty Mars put on a show for NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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This looks like it's probably a dust devil on Mars.

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

If you see something fluffy and white-ish on the surface of Mars and it's casting a shadow, it's probably a dust devil. That's the conclusion the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRise camera team reached when they spotted just that in a Mars snapshot.

MRO captured the original image in 2010, but the HiRise team at the University of Arizona has been making super high-res 8K versions of MRO images available on Flickr. That gives scientists and space fans a great opportunity to delve into the tiny details of the landscapes.

The zoomed-out main image shows a collection of boulders on the floor of Cerberus Fossae, a steep area where deep troughs cut into the ground and landslides are common. 

The HiRise team said it is "fairly certain this is a dust devil" in a Twitter post on Tuesday. It definitely resembles a snake-like dust devil MRO spotted in 2012. Whirlwinds happen frequently on the Red Planet and have been known to leave visible marks across the ground.

NASA's orbiter arrived at Mars in 2006 and has been sending back incredible images ever since. This dust devil whirling in an image from 2010 shows there are treasures still left to find in the archives.

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