The Russian-European spacecraft Trace Gas Orbiter of the ExoMars-2016 mission removed giant tornadoes from Mars orbit, Roscosmos reported.
"Giant tornadoes - dust whirlwinds are a constant phenomenon on the surface of Mars. Two moving tornadoes are visible in these two photographs taken 45 seconds apart on February 27, 2021 by the CaSSIS camera on board the Trace Gas Orbiter of the Russian-European mission ExoMars-2016," stated on the website of the state corporation.
Dust whirlwinds are a permanent phenomenon on the surface of Mars, captured on February 27, 2021 by the CaSSIS camera on board the Trace Gas Orbiter of the Russian-European mission ExoMars-2016
Roscosmos noted that bright spots move along the bottom of a 70-kilometer crater in the southern hemisphere of Mars, leaving behind a dark streak. Also visible are the moving shadows of two pillars of dust. One of the vortices moves at a speed of about four meters per second, the other at a speed of eight meters per second.
Martian dust vortices form in much the same way as on Earth: when the surface becomes hotter than the air above it, currents of hot air move through the colder, denser air, creating an upward current. The cold air then descends, creating vertical circulation. This flow spins up as a result of a horizontal gust of wind. Having gained sufficient speed, the vortex can draw in dust and carry it over the surface.
Tornadoes on Mars, however, are much larger than their terrestrial "counterparts": they can reach eight kilometers in height, leaving behind traces tens to hundreds of kilometers wide. Their enormous size allows them to be extremely efficient in lifting dust high into the Martian atmosphere. The study of tornadoes on Mars is extremely important and interesting in order to understand how they could affect the climate on the planet over time, concluded in Roskosmos.