Here’s another astonishing bit of comparative planetary science to feast your eyes on as you explore the cosmos via the Web. This morning (August 28, 2005) we have been tracking the progress of Hurricane Katrina as it bears down on New Orleans. Earthlings are used to tracking storms this way on our planet; we’ve been doing it for the past half-century or so and are used to seeing Earth from space (and the actions of its atmosphere).
We’ve been doing the same thing on Mars now for a couple of years or more. The Red Planet doesn’t have hurricanes as we know them, although it does occasionally undergo planet-wide dust storms. But, parts of its surface do experience little storms that are NOTHING like hurricanes, but still fascinating to watch anyway. They’re called “dust devils” and they scurry along the dry and dusty plains, raising columns of dust just like little twisters.
For Mars, point your browser to the Mars Exploration Rover Page and look under “Latest Press Images” for the latest weather animations from the Red Planet.
The biggest difference is now that Katrina has the potential to do much damage and take human life. Let’s hope for the best and keep our brothers and sisters in the storm’s path in our thoughts.