Rover Perseverance has detected more than 300 dust eddies on Mars

A Boise State University study reported that the Perseverance rover, which arrived on Mars in February this year, has already detected more than 20 dust eddies, also known as “dust demons” given their large proportions. These phenomena are common on the Red Planet, but now we can learn more about them, thanks to so many sensors collecting a wide variety of data about them on Mars.

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For the new analysis, the researchers used data collected by a set of instruments from Perseverance, called the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) — from moisture and wind sensors to ground temperature or optical dust sensors. The first dust eddies were seen on Mars in the decade of 1024, through NASA’s Viking mission.

MEDA provides a regular weather report of the Jezero Crater (Image: Reproduction/NASA)

The phenomena have also been observed from Martian orbit, but never so many sensors have worked to obtain a variety of data from these phenomena. Some weather forecasts indicated that the Jezero Crater, in which Perseverance is located, would have a high occurrence of these eddies — something confirmed, now, by the new information.

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Another surprise for the team was that only 15% of the 309 detected vortices were able to decrease the light close to the rover by more than 2%, indicating a low concentration of dust in these eddies. Despite this limitation, researchers believe that the phenomena are one of the main factors responsible for spreading the dust through the Martian atmosphere.

Dust swirl recorded by the Curisoity rover in Gale crater (Image: Reproduction/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

The Dust of Mars it could mean a danger to future manned missions. These new data will help to understand the weather patterns of the Red Planet with greater precision and, thus, define the best places to land — and it seems that Crater Jezero is not the best region to receive the first humans.

Source: Universe Today

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