Spirit captures a dust devil in the distance on camera in this image from a few days ago. I colorized it to enhance detail (and make it a little more “Mars-y”) from the original raw file.
Dust devils are common this time of year at Spirit’s location. They are cause by warmer air near the surface, heated during the day, rising in rapidly spinning columns and taking the thin Martian dust with them. Dust devils have proven to be quite helpful in clearing Spirit’s solar panels of dust, in the instances when the rover meets one face-to-face.
For a video of Martian dust devils in action, see this post.
Spirit is currently stuck in its position next to Home Plate, its wheels caught in soft sand. The MER team is working hard to figure out how to safely get the rover mobile again.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech