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2 km high: Perseverance succeeds in recording a Martian tornado

2 km high: Perseverance succeeds in recording a Martian tornado

Dust devils have been observed on Mars many times before, and now the Perseverance spacecraft has captured another stunning image of an extraterrestrial tornado that has stunned researchers. Only the shadow reveals the true scale of the phenomenon.

On August 30, the 899th sol of NASA’s mission, the Perseverance rover set some eyes on “Thorofare Ridge,” a ridge located on the western rim of Jezero Crater on Mars. Then suddenly a clearly visible tornado appears in the picture, which seems to be moving along the ridge from east to west.

as NASA As described in their report, the bottom of the Martian dust devil can be seen here. The video has been sped up 20 times and includes 21 images taken four seconds apart by so-called Navcams – navigation cameras, two of which are mounted on the left and right sides of the rover’s mast.
Mars rover 2020Mars whirlwind on August 30 (NASA/JPL)

Image data reveals that the tornado was about 4 kilometers from the vehicle and was moving at a speed of about 19 km/h. Mission scientists also estimate that it is about 60 meters wide, and the visible part of the vortex is 118 meters high.

Much higher

As NASA explains, only a very small portion of the entire phenomenon can be seen with the naked eye. “We don’t see the top of the dust devil, but the shadow it casts gives us a good indication of its height,” said Mark Lemon, a planetary scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and a member of the research team. Perseverance Scientific Team.

According to Lemon, dust devils appearing in the form of vertical columns have been observed on Mars so far. That’s why scientists dared to make a cautious prediction: “If this dust devil is configured like this, its shadow would point to a height of about 2 kilometers.”


  • NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft has successfully captured a Martian dust devil
  • The observation took place on the 899th Martian day of NASA’s mission
  • The dust devil moved on Thorofare Ridge at a speed of 19 km/h
  • The tornado was about 4 kilometers from the rover
  • Calculated width of the dust devil: about 60 metres, visible height: 118 metres
  • The dust devil’s shadow indicates a greater overall height
  • Scientists expect the total potential rise to be about 2 km

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