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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
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Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
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Video: Huge Dust Devil Prowling Mars
5 April 2012 2:06 pm
Earth may have terrifying tornadoes, but when it comes to dust devils, Mars has us beat. A camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured a stunning example of a swirling funnel of dust spinning up to an altitude of 20 kilometers. (The animation above provides a side view.) On Earth, tornadoes often reach such heights, but dust devils seldom reach up more than a few hundred meters. That's because dust devils only draw their energy from the solar heating of the surface; tornadoes also tap the heat energy from the condensation of water vapor in a tornadic storm. Mars is too dry for that, but the thinness of its air allows dust devils to soar, even on their restricted energy diet. Astronauts wouldn't be knocked off of their feet if caught in one, but martian dust devils are strong enough to play many roles. They loft dust high into the atmosphere between major dust storms. Some Mars scientists suspect dust devils generate enough static electricity to produce bleach-like chemicals that consume any organic matter—and any living thing—in martian soil. And dust devils have certainly lent NASA a hand; they occasionally blow the dust off a rover's solar cells, letting it power back up and keep on truckin'.
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