A new study suggests lightning may be weak or nonexistent in Martian dust storms. Researchers vibrated basalt grains at various atmospheric pressures to test their ability to build up charge.
Lightning in a dust storm plays a role in my forthcoming book, Air: Generation Mars, Book One. Hard science fiction is a moving target. Still, the fictional strike in question is weak and only damaging to electrical equipment, so I think it’s plausible.
Twice each day, something strange happens to the atmospheric pressure on Mars.
Is it really colder in parts of the US right now than it is on Mars? Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading “Colder than Mars”
“The article’s basic mistake is in thinking Mars is a closed system. But no planet is a closed system.”
Humans love the idea of a rebel. But only the idea. Take action too far outside the box of current experience and you begin to hear the Greek Chorus of naysayers heckling you, gleefully glomming onto anything that might pull you back within accepted norms.
Such has been the case recently regarding a paper in the journal Nature Astronomy, which reported that there does not appear to be enough CO2 on Mars to allow for terraforming. I can’t count the number of articles that have floated through my various feeds starting with the mocking phrase “Sorry Elon…” Google it yourself and see what I mean.
Continue reading “Whither terraforming?”
Mars is a dusty place. Researchers now think much of this dust comes from a single feature on the surface. Overview below. Original article here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-05291-5
Here’s a cool animation showing the extent of the dust storm happening on Mars right now.
The dust storm on Mars is a global weather event.
“The last dust storm on Mars to go global occurred in 2007, five years before the Curiosity rover landed at its Gale Crater site, according to officials with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.”
Some really nice reprocessing of old Viking imagery.
“I am fond of the Viking missions. Their orbits took them far above Mars (as far as 56,000 kilometers from the surface), giving them the ability to take sweeping images of entire hemispheres. Modern missions mostly don’t stray so far from Mars’ surface, and can’t fully capture the same sweeping vistas captured by the Viking Orbiters. ”
The Planetary Society
Somewhere under those clouds, my characters live. I’m not quite sure where yet.
NASA Solar System Exploration