Smoke from Wildfires and the Planet Mars

August 06, 2021



Photographer: Steven Lunt 
Summary Author: Steven Lunt 

Shown above at top is the western sky of southeastern Arizona as observed shortly after sunset on June 6, 2021. Smoke from several wildfires along the Gila River and U.S. Route 70 produced a wispy finger pointing upwards to the planet Mars. Summer is prime firefighting season in the western U. S, especially in the forests and range lands surrounded by the deserts of the southwest. It seems that there’s a never-ending war against the fires, with battles won and lost between humans and the elements. On the satellite image (bottom), the faint, wandering green ribbon of the Gila River can be seen between the Mescal Fire (top center), which charred more than 70,00 acres (28,000 hectares), and my location in Duncan, Arizona (red dot).

Several weeks ago, China's Zhurong rover landed on Mars to begin exploring the Red Planet. Zhurong takes its name from a personage in Chinese mythology as the god of fire.

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