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27 October 2009
This may look like an elaborate tattoo, but it is actually a Martian windstorm.
The storm was snapped using the high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) camera on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, originally sent to assist with the identification of candidate landing sites.
The photo shows twisting dark trails criss-crossing with lighter coloured terrains that cover the surface of Mars. The dark trails are the result of miniature whirlwinds known as dust devils: spinning columns of warm air that rise and become visible as they pick up the loose red dust, leaving the heavier and darker-coloured sand visible beneath.