Emirates Mars Mission Tracks Martian Dust Storms

  • Publish date: Tuesday، 08 March 2022
Emirates Mars Mission Tracks Martian Dust Storms

The Emirates Mars Mission is returning a number of unique observations of Martian dust storms. Hope provides a powerful platform to observe details of the structure and variability of the Martian atmosphere.

Coordinated observations made by the EXI camera and the EMIRS infrared spectrometer characterise the thermal state of the surface and lower atmosphere, and provide details of the geographic distribution of dust, water vapor, and water and carbon-dioxide ice clouds over time scales of minutes to days.

Starting in late December 2021, EXI and EMIRS monitored a rapidly-evolving regional dust storm as it expanded to a size of over several thousand kilometres. A series of EXI and EMIRS "globes" are presented here (orientated with north to the top), documenting the growth and dissipation of the storm over nearly two weeks.

The prominent dark "shark’s fin" feature in the EXI images is known as Syrtis Major. In this area, thin deposits of dark basaltic sand cover the surface of a gently-sloping shield volcano.

Emirates Mars Mission Tracks Martian Dust Storms

To the south, the tan circular feature is the Hellas impact basin (the largest crater on Mars – about 2300 km across, and up to 7 km deep) – often shrouded in dust and water-ice clouds. In both the EMIRS and EXI globes, a green star marks a "reference location" (an 85-km diameter impact crater) to visually aid tracking features in both data sets.

As the Martian season approaches southern spring, dust storm activity typically becomes more pervasive. 

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