This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.
National Air and Space Museum
Center for Earth and Planetary Studies
Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
Local and regional dust storms occur on Mars during the spring months. These storms arise as the seasonal carbon dioxide frost cap, which can extend almost halfway to the planet?s equator, sublimes in the warming spring environment. This image compares a recent dust storm on Mars to one on Earth. The top image shows a low-resolution, two-color view of a Martian north polar dust storm, taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera. The storm has marginal vortices and moves outward as a front from a central jet. Mars?s rare global dust storms play an important role in governing the climate, as they alter the planet?s total heat balance, promote variations in seasonal frost formation and dissipation, and greatly affect the distribution of water vapor.