(GIZMODO) Sprawling towers of dust can reach heights of 50 miles during global-scale dust storms on Mars, according to new research. Acting like a space elevator, the phenomenon might explain how water escaped from the Red Planet during its ancient past.
On Earth, storms tend to be highly localized events, but things are a bit different on Mars. About once a decade, Mars experiences a colossal dust storm that impacts the planet on a global scale. Known as planet-encircling dust events (PEDEs), these storms affect the planet’s weather for months at a time. Such a storm occurred in 2018—a massive global dust storm that enveloped the entire planet, casting it in a dull yellowish haze and putting an end to NASA’s Opportunity rover mission.