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OR 3a Mars rovers protected from lightning strikes, analysis finds | NSF - The Times Hub

Mars rovers protected from lightning strikes, analysis finds | NSF

Mars rovers protected from lightning strikes, analysis finds | NSF

Analysis Information

Mars rovers protected from lightning strikes, analysis finds


Sparks triggered by friction beneath regular atmospheric circumstances would seemingly be small

A Mars mud storm seems because the brighter, redder, cloudy area in the course of the planet’s disk.


February 23, 2021

If experiments completed in small bottles in a College of Oregon lab are correct, the friction of colliding Martian mud particles is unlikely to generate huge electrical storms or threaten newly arrived exploration autos or, ultimately, human guests, in accordance with U.S. Nationwide Science Basis-funded researchers.

Questions on potential electrical exercise have been first raised on the time of the Viking landers within the Seventies, and orbiters since then have detected silts, clays, wind-blown landforms and dirt devils (small, quickly rotating winds made seen by mud) on Mars.

Dry Martian mud particles’ contact with one another could produce electrical discharges on the floor and within the planet’s environment. Nevertheless, such sparks are prone to be small and pose little hazard to robotic or human missions to the pink planet, the scientists report in a paper printed on-line and scheduled to look within the March 15 print situation of the journal Icarus.

Scientists have sought to find out experimentally whether or not giant electrical storms and lightning have been doable — and whether or not hazards may end result from static electrical energy generated by particles of the pink planet’s principally basaltic rock putting autos or, ultimately, people in protecting gear.

Utilizing volcanic ash as a stand-in for Martian mud, researchers within the lab of University of Oregon volcanologist Josef Dufek discovered {that electrical} discharges in Martian mud devils and storms are certainly doable. Nevertheless, the discharges would seemingly be small given the weak electrical fields supported by the Martian environment.

Martian mud devils, the researchers mentioned, could seem to glitter, crackle or faintly glow as they roll throughout Mars’ desiccated panorama, however with discharges most likely so small they is probably not seen besides by means of detection of their radio waves.

“It is thrilling that analysis vital for our understanding of volcanic hazards on Earth can be having an influence on our understanding of Mars,” says Jennifer Wade, a program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences.

— 
NSF Public Affairs,

researchnews@nsf.gov

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