Martian devil

Giant whirlwind photographed as it snakes its way across a plain in northern Mars

By Stephen Ornes, 13:27 PM April 23, 2012

Martian dustdevil

 

On March 14, a giant rose from the dust on Mars and raced across the planet’s surface. This behemoth was no alien: It was a towering pillar of twisting wind known as a dust devil. Photographed by a NASA spacecraft passing overhead, the swirling storm stood 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) tall and stretched more than half the width a U.S. football field.

These whirlwinds are common on the Red Planet, but “what’s interesting about this dust devil is it’s very, very tall,” says planetary scien...

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