A Martian streak


A dust avalanche draws a striking pattern on the surface of the red planet.


The aftermath of a dust avalanche on Mars, as capture by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The aftermath of a dust avalanche on Mars, as capture by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows streaks forming on slopes when dust cascades downhill. The dark streak is an area of less dust compared to the brighter and reddish surroundings. What triggers these avalanches is not known, but might be related to sudden warming of the surface.

These streaks are often diverted by the terrain they flow down. This one has split into many smaller streaks where it encountered minor obstacles.

These streaks fade away over decades as more dust slowly settles out of the Martian sky.

Latest Stories
MoreMore Articles