The state corporation Roscosmos has presented images of the huge dust vortices currently raging on Mars. The photographs were transmitted to Earth from the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) space station.
Recall that the TGO is one of the vehicles of the Russian-European mission ExoMars-2016 to explore the Red Planet. This orbiter and the Schiaparelli lander were launched in 2016. However, Schiaparelli crashed while landing.
Captured giant tornadoes move along the bottom of a 70-kilometer crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars, leaving behind a dark streak. The vortex on the left side of the image is moving at about 4 meters per second, the vortex on the right at about 8 meters per second.
On the left side of the image, you can see a large dark spot: this is a huge basalt dune field. Moving tornadoes blow off the top layer of dust, leaving a kind of web of footprints on the surface.
It is noted that the eddies on the Red Planet are much larger than the terrestrial ones – they can reach eight kilometers in height. The trail left by such tornadoes is tens and hundreds of kilometers wide.
“Studying tornadoes on Mars is extremely important and interesting in order to understand how they could affect the climate on the planet over time. Their enormous size makes it possible to very effectively lift dust high into the Martian atmosphere, ”notes Roskosmos.