On April 1, NASA‘s Mars Opportunity rover sent back to earth a photo showing a Martian dust devil in the distance. According to NASA, even when dust devils are common on Mars, they are an unusual sight for Opportunity.

In the photo snapped by Opportunity, it can be seen the tracks of the robot from its climb up a steep ridge and a devil storm whirling in the distance. It may seem like the rover had been trying to escape from the Martian twister off, but since there’s a minimum 8-minute round-trip communication delay between Opportunity and its handlers, there’s no possibility for an escape. However, a devil dust isn’t as strong as a tornado so NASA’s rover wasn’t in danger.

A Martian dust devil roughly 12 miles (20 kilometers) high was captured winding its way along the Amazonis Planitia region of Northern Mars on March 14, 2012 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA

Opportunity’s journey on Mars

On January 2004, just after its twin Spirit, Opportunity rover landed on Mars as part as part of a surface mission for hunting signs that liquid water once flowed across the planet.

The envisioned was expected to last three months, but the rovers continued exploring the Red Planet after their guarantees expired. NASA reported the death of Spirit back in 2011, but thanks to north-facing slopes in the winter, Opportunity is been able to collect energy through solar panels, which has kept the robot strong, poking around the rim of Endeavour Crater.

NASA officials said that Opportunity’s odometer currently reads 26.53 miles (42.69 km). In the summer of 2014, the rover broke the record for the greatest distance traveled on the surface of a world other than Earth — 24.2 miles (39 kilometers).

Source: Christian Science Monitor