05.15.2017 Putting Martian 'Tribulation' Behind
05.15.2017 From 'Tribulation' to 'Perseverance' on Mars
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop Team
04.20.2017 Subcritical Water Extractor
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop
04.20.2017 Atacama Landscape
03.30.2017 Measuring Mars' Atmosphere Loss
03.29.2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Theisinger
03.29.2017 A Decade of Compiling the Sharpest Mars Map
03.21.2017 Break in Raised Tread on Curiosity Wheel
03.17.2017 COBALT/JPL team
03.09.2017 Back-to-Back Martian Dust Storms
02.27.2017 Swirling Dust in Gale Crater, Mars, Sol 1613
02.27.2017 Dust Devil Passes Near Martian Sand Dune
02.27.2017 Sand Moving Under Curiosity, One Day to Next
02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
Back-to-Back Martian Dust StormsThis movie clip shows a global map of Mars with atmospheric changes from Feb. 18, 2017, through March 6, 2017, a period when two regional-scale dust storms appeared. It combines hundreds of images from the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The date for each map in the series is given at upper left. Dust storms appear as pale tan. In the opening frames, one appears left of center, near the top (north) of the map, then grows in size as it moves south, eventually spreading to about half the width of the map after reaching the southern hemisphere. As the dust from that first storm becomes more diffuse in the south, another storm appears near the center of the map in the final frames.
In viewing the movie, it helps to understand some of the artifacts produced by the nature of MARCI images when seen in animation. MARCI acquires images in swaths from pole-to-pole during the dayside portion of each orbit. The camera can cover the entire planet in just over 12 orbits, and takes about one day to accumulate this coverage. The individual swaths for each day are assembled into a false-color, map-projected mosaic for the day. Equally spaced blurry areas that run from south-to-north result from the high off-nadir viewing geometry in those parts of each swath, a product of the spacecraft’s low orbit. Portions with sharper-looking details are the central part of an image, viewing more directly downward through less atmosphere than the obliquely viewed portions. MARCI has a 180-degree field of view, and Mars fills about 78 percent of that field of view when the camera is pointed down at the planet. However, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter often is pointed to one side or the other off its orbital track in order to acquire targeted observations by other imaging systems on the spacecraft. When such rolls exceed about 20 degrees, gaps occur in the mosaic of MARCI swaths. Other dark gaps appear where data are missing.
It isn't easy to see the actual dust motion in the atmosphere in these images, owing to the apparent motion of these artifacts. However, by concentrating on specific surface features (craters, prominent ice deposits, etc.) and looking for the tan clouds of dust, it is possible to see where the storms start and how they grow, move and eventually dissipate.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, provided and operates MARCI. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS