The dust devil was four kilometres away from the Perseverance rover, said NASA.
Perseverance, the rover of American space agency NASA currently exploring the surface of Mars, has spotted a dust devil swirling across the planet's surface. The weather phenomenon looks very similar to what happens in the desert regions on Earth. According to NASA, the car-sized rover captured the dust devil on the western rim of Mars' Jezero Crater on August 30, 2023. It was captured using 24 frames taken four seconds apart by one of Perseverance's Navcams, the space agency further said.
Dust devils are generally weaker and smaller than tornadoes on Earth, but help scientists understand the Martian atmosphere and improve their weather models.
The members of the mission team calculated that the little twister was about 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) away from the rover at the time and moving east to west at about 19 kmph.
NASA further said that it was roughly 200 feet (60 metres) wide and estimated its full height despite only bottom 387 feet (118 metres) of the swirling vortex visible in the camera frame.
"We don't see the top of the dust devil, but the shadow it throws gives us a good indication of its height," said Mark Lemmon, a member of the Perseverance science team.
"Most are vertical columns. If this dust devil were configured that way, its shadow would indicate it is about 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) in height," he added.
The mission team stitched together the various images of the dust devil captured by the Perseverance rover to create a video that was sped up 20 times.
According to NASA, dust devils form when rising cells of warm air mix with descending columns of cooler air. On Mars, they are most prominent during its spring and summer months, but scientists can't predict when they'll appear at a specific location. Mars' northern hemisphere, where Perseverance is located, is currently in summer.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.