NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
This summertime Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) view of the floor of Argyre Basin shows a plethora of dark streaks thought to have been created by the passage of dust devils. Dust devils are vortices of wind---just as a tornado is a vortex of wind associated with stormy weather on Earth, and the spiraling of water down a bathtub drain is a vortex in a liquid. Dust devils usually form on Mars on relatively calm, quiet, spring and summer afternoons. The passage of a dust devil picks up and disturbs the thin coatings of dust on the martian surface, forming streaks that mark the path that the moving dust devil took. This picture covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) wide and is located near 48.5°S, 43.0°W. Sunlight illuminates the scene from the upper left.
Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, California and Denver, Colorado.