NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
Northern Amazonis Planitia is famous for its frequent, large (> 1 km high) dust devils. They occur throughout the spring and summer seasons, and can be detected from orbit, even at the ~240 meters (~278 yards) per pixel resolution of the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) wide angle instruments. This red wide angle image shows a plethora of large dust devils. The arrow points to an example. Shadows cast by the towering columns of swirling dust point away from the direction of sunlight illumination (sun is coming from the left/lower left). This December 2004 scene covers an area more than 125 km (> 78 mi) across and is located near 37°N, 154°W.
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.