Hope mission spacecraft at Mars Just Watched a Dust Storm Lift Tons of Grains Within a Short Time

The latest images from Mars reveal how a dust storm can lift tons of grains within a short duration. The United Arab Emirates Hope mission took some Mars images before and after a recent dust storm. These images reveal “discernible alterations on the surface,” as described by UAE’s officials handling the Hope mission on X, formerly known as Twitter on Dec. 29.

The officials passed the write-up on X with an animation describing the occurrence. The orbiter recorded the changes that occurred in the Martian surface dust thickness while observing a regional dust storm in 2022. It conducted infrared spectrometer observations that can study the heat signatures on the Martian surface, as suggested by a publication made in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets in October.

What You Should Know About This Recent Dust Storm captured by hope mission

The released animation reveals how the spectrometer studies the changes within the surface dust thickness in the Isidis Planitia region. The officials highlighted this region red in the footage. Scientists suggest that this zone exists as a vast impact basin filled with dust. Hope Mission closely investigated several regions after a dust storm that occurred in January 2022. 

The paper suggested that the examined regions include Syrtis Major, Isidis Planitia, Tyrrhena Terra, Hesperian Planum, and Elysium Planitia. The researchers’ primary goal is to put “constraints on the amount of dust that was either lifted from or deposited onto these regions,” according to the paper.

The recently released animation shows how the spacecraft captures images before and after the dust storm. It clearly reveals discernible alterations on the Martian surface.

“Although the regional dust storm was active over all the regions of interest, we found that dust may have been removed and subsequently deposited with varying levels of intensity in the regions sampled,” the researchers added.

The spectrometer measurements also suggest that some regions on Mars had a net removal of dust that goes as high as 340 μm or micrometers. This suggestion clearly shows the surface temperature changes observed in the spectrum from orbit. Other unique regions also had net deposition of dust that goes as high as 120 μm.

“Visible-wavelength imagery from the Emirates Exploration Imager, which is more sensitive to changes in surface dust distribution, is incorporated in our analysis to provide additional context,” the researchers said. Their estimates thus revealed that “dust reservoirs are capable of transporting vast quantities of dust over short timescales.”

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