Free Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Essay Sample

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera images such as those of the whirlwinds on Mars. Whirlwind on Mars has a characteristic of lofting a twisting column of dust over a distance of more than 800 meters. Both Earth and Mars experience dust devils, which are the spinning columns of air that become observable because of the dust particles they pull of the ground. Dust devils usually form on a clear day when the sun heats the ground, warming the air just above it. The heated air near the ground rises rapidly through a small pocket of cold air just above it, which may start to rotate when the conditions are right (NASA, 2012).

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On February 16, 2012, the HiRISE captured the image of an afternoon whirlwind as the orbiter was passing over the northern Mars. This happened when Mars was farthest from the Sun. During this season, the exposure of the Martian ground to the rays of the Sun declines, but the dust devils still may occur. It is evident that dust devils or whirlwinds are common features of Mars because the observed area shows paths of the previous whirlwinds. These paths can be recognized as stripes on dusty surface. Active dust devils display delicate arcs due to a westerly breeze partway up their heights (NASA, 2012).

Since 2006, the MRO has been examining Mars with the help of numerous scientific devices. The orbiter has continued to be the source of insights into the ancient environments of Mars as well as how various processes such as meteorite impacts, seasonal frosts, and wind continue to affect the surface of Mars today. MRO has provided more data concerning Mars than the other surface and orbital missions (NASA, 2012).


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