Abstract Title

Inferring Mars Dust Devil Statistics from Insight Lander Data and Local Field Research

Additional Funding Sources

This research was supported by NASA via Idaho Space Grant Consortium.

Abstract

The Insight Mission has operated on the surface of Mars for roughly two years, providing countless data, not limited to the first detections of Marsquakes. The Insight lander has deployed sensitive meteorological instruments to determine the impact of the Martian atmosphere on the surrounding environment. Additionally, the lander deployed imaging cameras that monitor instrument deployment and surrounding surface activity. These instruments have detected a large number of occurrences with small-scale vortices otherwise known as “dust devils.” We know that these dust devils occur all across Mars and impact Martian climate and air quality. Prior studies using this data tells us that these vortices occur but do not show up in collected imagery--meaning that these dust devils are actually dustless. Even though we cannot visibly see the dust devils, we are able to use vortex detections from Insight as well as wind speed measurements from Insight in hopes to learn about the process that creates dust devils.

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Inferring Mars Dust Devil Statistics from Insight Lander Data and Local Field Research

The Insight Mission has operated on the surface of Mars for roughly two years, providing countless data, not limited to the first detections of Marsquakes. The Insight lander has deployed sensitive meteorological instruments to determine the impact of the Martian atmosphere on the surrounding environment. Additionally, the lander deployed imaging cameras that monitor instrument deployment and surrounding surface activity. These instruments have detected a large number of occurrences with small-scale vortices otherwise known as “dust devils.” We know that these dust devils occur all across Mars and impact Martian climate and air quality. Prior studies using this data tells us that these vortices occur but do not show up in collected imagery--meaning that these dust devils are actually dustless. Even though we cannot visibly see the dust devils, we are able to use vortex detections from Insight as well as wind speed measurements from Insight in hopes to learn about the process that creates dust devils.