Nasa Orbiter Catches Martian Twister

Nasa Orbiter Mars Twister

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 8/03/2012 12:00 Updated: 8/03/2012 12:46

A dust devil 30 metres in diameter and 800 metres high has been spotted swirling across Mars hinting at further similarities between Earth and the red planet.

The image, just released by Nasa, could easily be mistaken for a shot of the Australian desert, was shot by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 16 February 2012.

The incredible eddy was spotted in the particularly exotic sounding Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars.

As with weather on Earth, Mars' winds are affected by the sun. When this shot was taken, Mars was furthest from the sun.

Nasa says the dust devil formed on a clear day on Mars, when the planet was heated by the sun, and the air just above the ground was warmed.

The Orbiter has been taking amazing shots of Mars since 2006, and is still going strong. The mission punches well above its weight, having sent home more information about Mars than all other orbital and surface missions combined.

Click through the images below for more incredible shots of Mars.

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