Monitoring of Dust Devil Tracks Around the InSight Landing Site, Mars, and Comparison With In Situ Atmospheric Data
The NASA InSight mission on Mars is a unique opportunity to study atmospheric processes both from orbit and in situ observations. We use post-landing high-resolution satellite images to monitor dust devil activity during the first 8 months of the mission. We perform mapping and semiautomatic detection of newly formed dust devil tracks and analyze their characteristics (sizes, azimuths, distances, and directions of motion). We find a large number of tracks appearing shortly after landing, followed by a significant decrease of activity during late winter, then a progressive increase during early spring. New tracks are characterized by dark linear, to slightly curvilinear, traces ranging from a few to more than 10 m wide. Tracks are oriented in the ambient wind direction, according to measurements made by InSight's meteorological sensors. The systematic analysis of dust devil tracks is useful to have a better understanding of atmospheric and aeolian activity around InSight.