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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Twister on Mars Captured in Amazing NASA Photo

• SPACE.com Staff
 A dust devil on Mars has been caught in the act of tearing across the Red Planet in a spectacular new photo by a NASA spacecraft.
 
The Martian twister rises up on a huge column of dust more than half a mile (800 meters) high in the new image, which was captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Feb. 16 as the spacecraft passed over the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars.
 

The 100-foot-wide (30-m) dust devil curves slightly, pushed by a westerly breeze. Tracks from previous whirlwinds are also visible in the Mars twister picture, showing up as streaks on the Red Planet's surface. The dust devil's shadow can also clearly be seen in the photo.

Dust devils occur on both Earth and Mars. They are spinning columns of air, made visible by the dirt they suck up off the ground.

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