Mars storm photo: ‘something’s brewing here’ | September 30, 2014

Regional dust storm activities over Mars' northern hemisphere - taken from Mars Orbiter.

Regional dust storm activities over Mars’ northern hemisphere – taken from Mars Orbiter.

India has published the first global view of Mars taken by the country’s spacecraft orbiting the red planet, and the image shows a dust storm brewing.

The image was taken from a distance of 74,500km, with greyish clouds near the top of the picture signalling the impending storm.

India has published the first global view of Mars taken by the country’s spacecraft orbiting the red planet, and the image shows a dust storm brewing.

The image was taken from a distance of 74,500km, with greyish clouds near the top of the picture signalling the impending storm.

Regional dust storm activities over Mars’ northern hemisphere – taken from Mars Orbiter from an altitude of 74,500km on September 28. Photo: Indian Space Organisation

“Something’s brewing here,” the Indian Space Research Organisation tweeted on the Mars Orbiter Mission account.

Slate’s Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait said the area where the storm was brewing in the upper left of the image, roughly the 11 o’clock position, was north.

The huge, lighter-coloured region to the right and above centre was Arabia Terra, a 4500km stretch of uplands that was one of the oldest terrains on the planet.

The long dark feature just below it was Terra Meridiani, where Nasa’s Mars rover Opportunity landed in 2004 and continued to explore.

At the bottom of the picture were the ices of the south pole, Plait said.

“There are craters galore, and all sorts of wind-eroded areas that so many scientists will happily spend the rest of their lives studying.”

Among the craters was Schiaparelli, in the northern part of Terra Meridiani, which was more than 460km across, far larger than the crater left by the dinosaur-killer impact on Earth.

“There’s a lot of solar system out there to look at, and it fills me with joy to know we’re doing just that.”

– Stuff

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