Essential Lens: Analyzing Photographs Across the Curriculum
Processes of Science: Mars, a Case Study #6009 Martian Dust Storm
Date: November 7, 2007
Photographer: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
This close-up image of a dust storm on Mars was acquired by the Mars Color Imager instrument on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 7, 2007. Scientists working with NASA’s Curiosity rover were monitoring Mars each day for similar small storms that could either drift over the landing site or stir up dust that moves as haze over the site.
This image is centered on Utopia Planitia, along the north seasonal polar cap edge in late northern winter. When NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars, it was late southern winter. Scientists were looking at similar small storms that form near the south seasonal polar cap edge. The dust storm pictured here was short-lived, lasting less than 24 hours.
The image also shows the seasonal north polar cap (at top of figure) and gravity-wave water ice clouds coming off of Mie crater, just south of the storm. Gravity-wave clouds, also called lee-wave clouds, are clouds that result from changes in atmospheric pressure, temperature, and height because of vertical displacement, such as when wind blows over a mountain or crater wall.
The projection of the image is polar stereographic and the image has a resolution of about 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) per pixel.
Photos downloaded from the Essential Lens site are cleared for educational use only.
Supplementary: Essential Lens: Processes of Science - Mars, a Case Study
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Program 1 A Closer Look (video)
This introduction to the course models the process of analyzing photographs with teachers and students. Photography historian Makeda Best discusses the Focus In method with teachers, and educator Julie Keefe employs the method with students at a photography exhibit on "light and dark." Photography curator at the Portland Art Museum, Julia Dolan discusses how she carefully selects a set of photographs to tell a larger story.
Program 2 Witness (video)
Photographs bear witness to world events and help us to learn more about people, places, and situations -- historical and present day. Middle school teacher Donald Rose guides students in analyzing photos from school integration movements of the 1960s. Documentary film producer Ken Burns weaves photographs into historical narratives to bring the past to life. Photojournalist Louie Palu's photos take us deep into mines and war zones, and engage us with the individuals who take on those tasks.
Program 3 Lives (video)
Lives explores the story of human resilience and perseverance. Middle school teacher Donald Rose uses the Migrant Mother photos by Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange to help students understand what elements a photographer chooses to focus on to create the greatest impact. Historian Linda Gordon, biographer of FSA photographer Dorothea Lange reveals Lange's role in engaging Americans in the plight of those who were most devastated. New Orleans documentary photographers Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick talk about the transformation of their photographs after Hurricane Katrina and working with young photographers to preserve the city's cultural heritage.
video 4 Evidence (video)
An image can show us otherwise invisible processes, previously undiscovered life forms, and dramatic change over time. High school teacher Rima Givot engages her students with highly magnified photos of mouse muscle to study genetically modified organisms. Scientist and photomicrographer Dennis Kunkel demonstrates the fascinating process of creating photographs of the microscopic world. Environmental photographer Gary Braasch reports on his worldwide travels to document the state of the planet through repeat photography.
Program 5 Story (video)
Every photograph tells a story: of struggle, of beauty, of community and culture. Social studies teacher Kim Kanof uses photos from the Protests and Politics collection to teach about protests around in the world in 1968. National Geographic photo editor Pamela Chen details the collaborative process of creating photo-based feature stories with design director David Whitmore. Iowa photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier discusses his work documenting the residents and images of marginalized communities across the United States.