Mars - Electric Atmosphere

Historic planetary instability and catastrophe. Evidence for electrical scarring on planets and moons. Electrical events in today's solar system. Electric Earth.

Moderators: MGmirkin, bboyer

Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby seasmith » Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:00 am

Solar Wind Rips Up Martian Atmosphere

11.21.2008
In 1998, MGS discovered that Mars has a very strange magnetic field. Instead of a global bubble, like Earth's, the Martian field is in the form of magnetic umbrellas that sprout out of the ground and reach beyond the top of Mars' atmosphere. These umbrellas number in the dozens and they cover about 40% of the planet’s surface, mainly in the southern hemisphere.

For years, researchers thought the umbrellas protected the Martian atmosphere, shielding pockets of air beneath them from erosion by the solar wind. Surprisingly, Brain finds that the opposite can be true as well: "The umbrellas are where coherent chunks of air are torn away."


Image

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/21nov_plasmoids.htm?list1066595
seasmith
 
Posts: 2814
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:59 pm

Re: Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby MGmirkin » Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:09 pm

(Solar Wind Rips Up Martian Atmosphere)
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008 ... smoids.htm

Brain noticed that the umbrella's magnetic field had linked up with the magnetic field in the solar wind. Physicists call this "magnetic reconnection."


Umm, not ALL physicists call it "magnetic reconnection"... ;)

(Double layers and circuits in astrophysics)
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. ... 013880.pdf

(Real Properties of Electromagnetic Fields and Plasma in the Cosmos)
http://members.cox.net/dascott3/IEEE-Tr ... ug2007.pdf

Magnetic reconnection appears to be pseudoscientific bunkum...

What happened next is not 100% certain, but Global Surveyor's readings are consistent with the following scenario: "The joined fields wrapped themselves around a packet of gas at the top of the Martian atmosphere, forming a magnetic capsule a thousand kilometers wide with ionized air trapped inside," says Brain. "Solar wind pressure caused the capsule to 'pinch off' and it blew away, taking its cargo of air with it." Brain has since found a dozen more examples. The magnetic capsules or "plasmoids" tend to blow over the south pole of Mars, mainly because most of the umbrellas are located in Mars' southern hemisphere.

MartianPlasmoidInterpretation.jpg
Plasmoids ripped from Martian atmosphere over crustal magnetic anomalies?


Above: Dave Brain of UC Berkeley presented this slide at the 2008 Huntsville Plasma Workshop to explain in cartoon fashion how plasmoids carry air away from Mars. [Larger image]


If magnetized chunks of air are truly being torn free, MAVEN will see it happening and measure the atmospheric loss rate. "Personally, I think this mechanism is important," says Brain, "but MAVEN may yet prove me wrong."


Dumb question: How does one magnetize "chunks of air"? Air is not ferromagnetic (not a permanent magnet). Does it not require currents to create and sustain magnetic fields? Methinks so...

Consider the bi-directional field-aligned currents that are strongly implied though never explicitly acknowledged by scientists over Martian crustal magnetic anomalies (found when investigating auroras in the southern hemisphere).

(Electric Currents Over Crustal Magnetic Anomalies Implicated in Martian Auroras)
http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/elect ... an-auroras

Regards,
~Michael Gmirkin
"The purpose of science is to investigate the unexplained, not to explain the uninvestigated." ~Dr. Stephen Rorke
"For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD." ~Gibson's law
User avatar
MGmirkin
Moderator
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Re: Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby junglelord » Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:49 pm

Dispite what they print publicly, often making it sound like a cut and dried case, behind closed doors they know exactly what MGmirkin comments on.

Plasma 2008 Workshop Summary
Complex processes govern magnetized plasma interactions between regions of differing magnetic fields. These boundary-layer interaction regions can be found at the Sun, at planetary magnetospheres, in the solar wind and in astrophysical plasmas. A variety of different processes such as magnetic reconnection, diffusion, finite gyroradii effects, wave-particle interactions, and stochastic acceleration have been presented as mechanisms responsible for mass and energy transport across these boundaries, but the relative importance and interdependence of these processes remain largely unresolved.

The 2008 Huntsville Workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss what we know about these processes, refine the scientific questions that need to be addressed to progress in their understanding, explore the direction of future experimental and theoretical research, and consider applications to future exploration of the heliosphere. The workshop focus on interdisciplinary sessions will provide for fruitful discussions and a broad basis for further understanding the physics involved in these processes.
The Workshop will take place in Huntsville, Alabama during the week of October 26-31, 2008 to be held at the downtown Holiday Inn.

Huntsville Attractions and Map
http://www.huntsville.org/attractions.php http://www.americaonwheels.com/AL/Hunts ... bama_35801

All are invited to contribute their recommendations and comments to development of the workshop to the workshop conveners.

Workshop Conveners

Levon Avanov, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (Levon.A.Avanov-@-nasa.gov)
Joseph Minow, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (Joseph.Minow-@-nasa.gov)
Local Organizing Committee

James Spann (Jim.Spann-@-nasa.gov)
Glynn Germany (Glynn.Germany-@-uah.edu)
Michael Chandler (Michael.O.Chandler-@-nasa.gov)
Dennis Gallagher (Dennis.L.Gallagher-@-nasa.gov)
Shen-Wu Chang (Shen.Chang-@-nasa.gov)
Ken-Ichi Nishikawa (Ken-Ichi.Nishikawa-1-@-nasa.gov)
Robert Sheldon (Rob.Sheldon-1-@-nasa.gov)
David Hathaway (David.Hathaway-@-nasa.gov)
Note: Change -@- to @ when sending emails.

Science Program Committee

Dr. Spiro Antiochus - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
Prof. Fran Bagenal - University of Colorado, Astrophy. and Planet. Sciences, USA
Dr. John Kirk - Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kernphysik, Germany
Prof. Masahiro Hoshino – University of Tokyo, Dept. Earth & Planet. Science, Japan
Prof. Yu Lin - Auburn University Physics, Auburn, USA
Dr. Nojan (Nick) Omidi - Solana Scientific Inc., USA
Dr. Terrance Onsager, NOAA Space Environment Center, USA
Prof. Kazunari Shibata - Kyoto University, Kwasan and Hida Observatories, Japan
Dr. David Sibeck – NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
Prof. Oleg Vaisberg – Space Research Institute, RAS, Russia
Prof. Gary Zank – University of California, Inst. of Geophys. and Planet. Physics, Riverside, USA
If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe.
— Nikola Tesla
Casting Out the Nines from PHI into Indigs reveals the Cosmic Harmonic Code.
— Junglelord.
Knowledge is Structured in Consciouness. Structure and Function Cannot Be Seperated.
— Junglelord
User avatar
junglelord
 
Posts: 3693
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:39 am
Location: Canada

Re: Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby MGmirkin » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:46 pm

"Magnetic reconnection," huh? :roll:

Thought you said they know of which I speak? ;)

*Tongue planted lightly in cheek.*

They did say the issue was "largely unresolved" or some such. At least that's a fair statement.

~Michael Gmirkin
"The purpose of science is to investigate the unexplained, not to explain the uninvestigated." ~Dr. Stephen Rorke
"For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD." ~Gibson's law
User avatar
MGmirkin
Moderator
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Re: Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby StefanR » Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:56 pm

Yes, it's old cop out magnetic reconnection again. I found the NASA article quite typical. Espescially:

"We have measurements from 25,000 orbits," he says. During one of those orbits, MGS passed through the top of a magnetic umbrella. Brain noticed that the umbrella's magnetic field had linked up with the magnetic field in the solar wind. Physicists call this "magnetic reconnection." What happened next is not 100% certain, but Global Surveyor's readings are consistent with the following scenario: "The joined fields wrapped themselves around a packet of gas at the top of the Martian atmosphere, forming a magnetic capsule a thousand kilometers wide with ionized air trapped inside," says Brain. "Solar wind pressure caused the capsule to 'pinch off' and it blew away, taking its cargo of air with it."


I was wondering how this would have been worded at that plasma conference. :? Air? :roll: .


Still as aphenomenon itself, it maybe isn't such a strange thing to observe. There might be some similar observations elsewhere, if they are really related, I'm not sure of course, but vortices and plasmoids. Going round and round seems to be quite the electric way ;) :D



Image
When the two fields point in opposite directions, scientists understand how ‘doors’ in Earth’s field can open. This phenomenon, called ‘magnetic reconnection’, allows the solar wind to flow in and collect in the reservoir known as the boundary layer. On the contrary, when the fields are aligned they should present an impenetrable barrier to the flow.
...
On 20 November 2001, the Cluster flotilla was heading around from behind Earth and had just arrived at the dusk side of the planet, where the solar wind slides past Earth’s magnetosphere. There it began to encounter gigantic vortices of gas at the magnetopause, the outer ‘edge’ of the magnetosphere.
“These vortices were really huge structures, about six Earth radii across,”
..
These vortices are known as products of Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities (KHI). They can occur when two adjacent flows are travelling with different speeds, so one is slipping past the other. Good examples of such instabilities are the waves whipped up by the wind slipping across the surface of the ocean. Although KHI-waves had been observed before, this is the first time that vortices are actually detected.
When a KHI-wave rolls up into a vortex, it becomes known as a ‘Kelvin Cat’s eye’
...
Scientists had postulated that, if these structures were to form at the magnetopause, they might be able to pull large quantities of the solar wind inside the boundary layer as they collapse. Once the solar wind particles are carried into the inner part of the magnetosphere, they can be excited strongly, allowing them to smash into Earth’s atmosphere and give rise to the aurorae.
http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=3329#p3329

MARSIS scientists have discovered the presence of a number of unexpected hyperbola-shaped oblique echoes, facing downwards. These are different from the vertical echoes normally expected from the upper interface of the ionosphere.
By comparing the MARSIS map of these echoes with maps of the Martian crustal magnetic field from Mars Global Surveyor's data, scientists noted that the ionospheric areas from which the oblique echoes are generated correspond to areas of strong magnetic fields in the crust of the planet.
Image
Other unexpected echoes have also been recorded by MARSIS. For example, unusual reflections recorded in the night-side of Mars that would be impossible in a horizontally stratified atmosphere, may indicate the presence of low density 'holes' in the ionosphere, like those observed in the night-side of Venus.
http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=12930#p12930

Observations revealed an extremely complicated structure in the magnetotail with large blobs, or plasmoids, of magnetically influenced plasma drifting down the tail at a relatively slow rate of speed. As the distance from the planet increased, the magnetotail became more highly structured with gradual variations in the plasma and sharp boundaries (discontinuities) between plasma regimes.
Data show that the inner magnetotail contains very hot ions — hotter than the top of SWAP's 7.5-kilovolt energy per charge range — that evolved to cooler and slower flows down the tail, beginning at about 100 Jovian radii; these flows were highly variable in flux and energy.
In addition to the volcanic material released from Io and material entering the magnetotail from the solar wind, the team found intense bursts of ionospheric hydrogen and H3+, which could only be coming from Jupiter's atmosphere.
Image
“It’s clear there's significant escape of material from the planet because the brightest burst we see turns out to be material that's largely from Jupiter, not from the solar wind or Io,” says McComas.
New Horizons’ encounter with Jupiter also raised some new questions. “In addition to seeing flows move down the magnetotail, we saw them sometimes move across it,” says McComas. “Because Jupiter has the largest and most powerful magnetosphere in the solar system, everything we can learn about this and other mysteries could have implications for the other planets.” Additional questions center on the unexpected variability of the energy and speed of the plasma flows, as well as the multi-day periodicities that were consistent with plasmoids expanding as they move down the tail.

http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=8899#p8899
The illusion from which we are seeking to extricate ourselves is not that constituted by the realm of space and time, but that which comes from failing to know that realm from the standpoint of a higher vision. -L.H.
User avatar
StefanR
 
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:31 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby squiz » Sun Nov 30, 2008 3:33 am

Anyone else get the feeling we are watching the discovery of the electric universe by the mainstream? As painful as it is.
Coincidentally I found this just the other day...

We report observations of magnetic fields amplitude, which consist of a series of individual spike in the Martian atmosphere. A minimum variance analysis shows that these spikes form twisted cylindrical filaments. These small diameter magnetic filaments are commonly called magnetic flux ropes. We examine the global characteristics of these magnetic flux ropes, which are observed on 3% of the elliptical orbits of Mars Global Surveyor. Flux ropes are more often observed on Venus atmosphere (70% of the orbits). No flux ropes were observed on the southern hemisphere of Mars. Most of them occur at high solar zenith angle and at high latitude, close to the terminator, with altitudes below 400 km. As the Martian ionosphere is quite often magnetized by the high magnetic components of the crustal field, this crustal magnetic field seems to avoid the flux ropes formation in the southern hemisphere. However, some orbits without crustal magnetic field were observed without flux ropes. So, another factor seems to suppress the flux ropes formation process, like the solar wind dynamic pressure as for Venus. Then, the magnetization of the ionosphere by both, the crustal magnetic field and the high solar wind dynamic pressure doesn't seem favorable for flux ropes formation.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2001AGUFM.P42A0533V

This would suggest that it's a rare event.
Could it be possible that a similarly intensified event could also excavate some of the surface?
Strangely enough I was also reading about Velikovsky and the magnetized moon rocks, and how it's been proposed that the magnetic regions on the moons crust were caused by meteor impacts no less.
There seems some similarity the moon and the Martian southern hemisphere, it's more cratered than the north and shares similar magnetic anomalies as the moon.
Perhaps the ancient mortal wounds to a once living planet with a stable magnetosphere.

Whatever their conclusions, it's good news for the Electric Universe!
squiz
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:05 am

Re: Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby MGmirkin » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:24 pm

squiz wrote:Anyone else get the feeling we are watching the discovery of the electric universe by the mainstream? As painful as it is.


I've been feeling that way for a while. Pretty much every time I read an article on "magnetic reconnection" and "large flows of charged particles," with some surprised look on astronomers' faces. But, hey, maybe that's just me.

Cheers,
~Michael Gmirkin
"The purpose of science is to investigate the unexplained, not to explain the uninvestigated." ~Dr. Stephen Rorke
"For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD." ~Gibson's law
User avatar
MGmirkin
Moderator
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Re: Solar Wind Rips Plasmoids From Martian Atmosphere

Unread postby MGmirkin » Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:45 pm

We report observations of magnetic fields amplitude, which consist of a series of individual spike in the Martian atmosphere. A minimum variance analysis shows that these spikes form twisted cylindrical filaments. These small diameter magnetic filaments are commonly called magnetic flux ropes. We examine the global characteristics of these magnetic flux ropes, which are observed on 3% of the elliptical orbits of Mars Global Surveyor. Flux ropes are more often observed on Venus atmosphere (70% of the orbits). No flux ropes were observed on the southern hemisphere of Mars. Most of them occur at high solar zenith angle and at high latitude, close to the terminator, with altitudes below 400 km. As the Martian ionosphere is quite often magnetized by the high magnetic components of the crustal field, this crustal magnetic field seems to avoid the flux ropes formation in the southern hemisphere. However, some orbits without crustal magnetic field were observed without flux ropes. So, another factor seems to suppress the flux ropes formation process, like the solar wind dynamic pressure as for Venus. Then, the magnetization of the ionosphere by both, the crustal magnetic field and the high solar wind dynamic pressure doesn't seem favorable for flux ropes formation.


Y'know, that's a great little quote... Who wants a dissection?

A minimum variance analysis shows that these spikes form twisted cylindrical filaments.


Hmm, twisted cylindrical "magnetic filaments"? What could those be? :?: They couldn't possibly be electric currents could they? I mean, it's not like a long straight electric current creates a cylindrical magnetic field around it... Ohh, wait, it does. Damn! :x

What does EU say about Venus? Venus as the "great comet" of antiquity... Comparisons of Venus to a comet. Comets as electrically charged bodies interacting with their local environment, coming into balance with it. Hence the coma / magnetotail of comets and planets. Mars & the moon don't really have a magnetic field to speak of. They'd be more-or-less in balance with their environments, if I understand correctly. No imbalance with the local environment more-or-less means little or no Langmuir sheath / double layer required to "shield" unlike charges / plasma environments from each other. Venus, if it was / is the comet of antiquity (not saying it is or isn't, just saying what EU has implied in various publications), should we expect it (under the electric comet model) to be undergoing more discharging than an object that's in balance with its environment (like the Moon or Mars)? One would think so, if it's a charged object. And, what do we see?

We examine the global characteristics of these magnetic flux ropes, which are observed on 3% of the elliptical orbits of Mars Global Surveyor. Flux ropes are more often observed on Venus atmosphere (70% of the orbits).


It's interesting to note that "flux ropes" seem to avoid the southern hemisphere. Though in the southern hemisphere there do seem to be currents over crustal magnetic anomalies leading to the auroras there, as they've observed ions accelerated one way and electrons accelerated the other in that region. So, it would be interesting to hear a full explanation from an electrical vantage point as to why there's a dichotomy between different regions in terms of current behavior. One might tentatively assume that the crustal magnetic fields in the southern hemisphere contribute to the difference...

Cheers,
~Michael Gmirkin
"The purpose of science is to investigate the unexplained, not to explain the uninvestigated." ~Dr. Stephen Rorke
"For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD." ~Gibson's law
User avatar
MGmirkin
Moderator
 
Posts: 1667
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Beaverton, Oregon, USA

More evidence of methane on Mars

Unread postby redeye » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:36 am

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind."
Bob Marley
User avatar
redeye
 
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:56 am
Location: Dunfermline

Re: More evidence of methane on Mars

Unread postby seasmith » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:39 pm

Redeye,

That ties in nicely with the theory of deep-earth replenishment of natural gas reservoirs here here on planet Terra, from non-vegetable origin.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/15jan_marsmethane.htm?list1066595

s
seasmith
 
Posts: 2814
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:59 pm

Re: More evidence of methane on Mars

Unread postby Grey Cloud » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:56 pm

Martian-made global warming?
If I have the least bit of knowledge
I will follow the great Way alone
and fear nothing but being sidetracked.
The great Way is simple
but people delight in complexity.
Tao Te Ching, 53.
Grey Cloud
 
Posts: 2477
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:47 am
Location: NW UK

Re: More evidence of methane on Mars

Unread postby redeye » Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:58 am

That ties in nicely with the theory of deep-earth replenishment of natural gas reservoirs here here on planet Terra, from non-vegetable origin.


Titan: from wikipedia

Energy from the Sun should have converted all traces of methane in Titan's atmosphere into hydrocarbons within 50 million years; a relatively short time compared to the age of the Solar System. This suggests that methane must be somehow replenished by a reservoir on or within Titan itself. That Titan's atmosphere contains over a thousand times more methane than carbon monoxide would appear to rule out significant contributions from cometary impacts, since comets are composed of more carbon monoxide than methane. That Titan might have accreted an atmosphere from the early Saturnian nebula at the time of formation also seems unlikely; in such a case, it ought to have atmospheric abundances similar to the solar nebula, including hydrogen and neon.[30] Many astronomers have suggested that the ultimate origin for the methane in Titan's atmosphere is from within Titan itself, released via eruptions from cryovolcanoes.[31] A possible biological origin for the methane has not been discounted


Cheers!
"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind."
Bob Marley
User avatar
redeye
 
Posts: 394
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:56 am
Location: Dunfermline

Re: Aurora on Mars

Unread postby StefanR » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:45 am

For the first time, direct evidence of lightning has been detected on Mars, say University of Michigan researchers who found signs of electrical discharges during dust storms on the Red Planet.

"What we saw on Mars was a series of huge and sudden electrical discharges caused by a large dust storm," Ruf said. "Clearly, there was no rain associated with the electrical discharges on Mars. However, the implied possibilities are exciting."

On June 8, 2006 both an unusual pattern of non-thermal radiation and an intense Martian dust storm occurred, the only time that non-thermal radiation was detected. Non-thermal radiation would suggest the presence of lightning.

The researchers reviewed the data to determine the strength, duration and frequency of the non-thermal activity, as well as the possibility of other sources. But each test led to the conclusion that the dust storm likely caused dry lightning.

Data from the Viking landers raised the possibility that Martian dust storms might be electrically active like Earth's thunderstorms and thus, might be a source of reactive chemistry. But the hypothesis was untestable. In 2006, using theoretical modeling, laboratory experiments and field studies on Earth, a group of planetary scientists suggested that there was no direct evidence that lightning occurred on Mars. This new research refutes those findings.

"Mars continues to amaze us. Every new look at the planet gives us new insights," said Michael Sanders, manager of the exploration systems and technology office at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a researchers involved in this study.

http://www.physorg.com/news164468762.html

Experimental evidence for electrostatic
discharging of dust near the surface of Mars

Abstract.
Laboratory experiments have shown that single non-conductive dust
grains can attain large electric potentials due to triboelectric charging. When
grains within a dust cloud interact, they become charged. An electric field forms
when upwinds within the cloud cause a separation of large and small particles.
We have performed laboratory experiments to determine the necessary conditions
for triboelectric charging in a cloud of Martian regolith simulant to break down
a low-pressure CO2 atmosphere and create electrical discharges. The range of
pressures and the simulated wind speeds over which discharges are observed
have been determined. The effects of particle-size distribution on the observed
discharge rates are also discussed.

1. Introduction
In dust storms, upwinds within a dust cloud can cause the smaller, negatively charged
particles to be lifted higher in the cloud while the larger, positively charged particles remain near
the surface. This charge separation causes the formation of an electric field. The strength of
the electric field depends on the dust density and the amount of charge generated on each grain.
When the electric potential within the cloud exceeds the breakdown voltage of the surrounding
atmosphere, the charge is released in a discharge similar to lightning.
Triboelectric charging of dust particles and the resultant electrical discharges have been
observed in several terrestrial phenomena, including volcanic plumes [3] and dust devils [4].
Field studies of terrestrial volcanic plumes have observed electric fields of ≈5 kVm−1 [3].
Additional studies show that charge separation in terrestrial dust devils, typically less than 30 m
in diameter and up to 700 m in height [5], can lead to electric fields of ≈1.6 kVm−1 [6]. At
760 Torr, the average atmospheric pressure on Earth, the terrestrial breakdown electric field is
≈3000 kV m−1.
For comparison, dust devils on Mars can measure 6 km in height and hundreds of metres
in diameter [7]. At Martian atmospheric pressures, 4.5–6 Torr, the breakdown electric field is
expected to be≈20 kV m−1, two orders of magnitude lower than the terrestrial breakdown value.
In the 1970s, it was qualitatively shown that stirring sand in air produced arc and glow
discharges at pressures between 0.1 and 50 Torr [8]. When air was replaced by CO2, arc and
glow discharges were observed at a pressure of 10 Torr [9]. While these studies support the
idea of electrical discharges occurring due to triboelectrically charged dust particles, they were
extremely qualitative.

4. Discussion
Our experiments show that triboelectric charging is a sufficient mechanism to create electrical
discharges in a low-pressure CO2 atmosphere. In order for a significant amount of discharges to
occur, a range of particle sizes is necessary.
Besides particle-size distribution, two additional parameters have been determined to have
strong effects on the discharge rate: atmospheric pressure and mixing rate. Dust vertically
dropped or horizontally mixed demonstrates that low atmospheric pressures favour electrical
discharges. Dust horizontally mixed also shows that if the simulated wind speeds are below a
threshold value, no discharging occurs.
This work is of particular interest to the study of the electrical activity within large dust
storms and dust devils on Mars and other dusty planetary surfaces. An understanding of the
conditions which favour electrical discharges is crucial since these discharges may affect optical
and electrical systems of equipment, interfere with radio communications, and affect the safety
of future human explorers on the Martian surface.
Numerous environmental factors have led to the conclusion that dust near the surface of Mars
is even more susceptible to triboelectric charging and subsequent electrical discharges than dust
on Earth. Mars has a low atmospheric pressure, 4.5–6 Torr, and thus a low breakdown electric
field value. This means that lightning discharges on Mars should occur more frequently but at
lower intensities than those seen on Earth. In addition, the dry Martian environment is helpful
in maintaining charge separation since low humidity decreases conductivity. Finally, Mars can
have winds which are sufficiently strong to facilitate dust motion and thus allow charging via
dust-to-dust contact to occur.
The expected susceptibility of Martian dust to triboelectric charging is of particular interest
in light of images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor’s orbital camera (MGSMOC) which show
numerous dust devils on theMartian surface. While these features are orders ofmagnitude larger
than their terrestrial counterparts, they are still much smaller than the major dust storms which
can cover large portions of the planet and last for several months. The large comparative size of
these phenomena suggests that electrical discharges due to triboelectric dust charging on Mars
could be numerous and observable.
The work presented here is just the first step in understanding the creation of electrical
discharges due to triboelectric charging in low-pressure atmospheres. Future laboratory work
must be done to determine whether other factors may have an affect on the discharge capabilities
of dust grains. Factors such asmass loading, temperature, humidity and atmospheric composition
must be analysed to provide a complete picture. Additionally, a simple theoretical model
addressing the fundamental aspects of the triboelectric charging and subsequent discharges is
still required to explain many of the smaller trends observed in the above data.

link to pdf
The illusion from which we are seeking to extricate ourselves is not that constituted by the realm of space and time, but that which comes from failing to know that realm from the standpoint of a higher vision. -L.H.
User avatar
StefanR
 
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:31 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Aurora on Mars

Unread postby StefanR » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:51 am

ELECTRICAL DISCHARGES IN THE MARTIAN DUST DEVILS AND DUST STORMS

Introduction:

The Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) shows that aeolian processes have been actively modifying the surface of Mars [1]. The evidence of these processes in the form of wind erosion features, dust devils, and dust storms is abun-dant and visible even in images of the MOC wide-angle camera. Dust devils are ubiquitous features of terrestrial deserts and the martian landscape during the warm season. On Mars, dust devils are much larger and stronger than on Earth. Terrestrial dust devils have typical diameters of less than 10 m and are sel-dom higher than a few 100 m [2]. In contrast, dust devils with diameters between 100 m and 1 km, and heights of up to 7 km are frequently observed on Mars [1, 3]. Martian dust devils also have greater dust con-tent than the terrestrial vortices. The dust devils ob-served in the images of the Mars Pathfinder panoramic camera have about 700 times the dust content of the local background atmosphere [4].
Regional dust storms occur rather frequently on Mars (Figure 1). In general, they are highly convec-tive and many are similar to terrestrial hurricanes [5]. Sometimes regional dust storms grow and become global in extent. Enhanced dust devil activity might be a precursor of regional and global dust storms. There is evidence that regional and global dust storms fre-quently form in regions where theory predicts high occurrence of dust devils [6]. The theoretical frame-work applicable to convective vortices such as dust devils, waterspouts and hurricanes predicts that dust devils and dust storms have a higher probability of occurrence and are potentially more intense in regions of sloping terrain and large horizontal temperature gradients [6, 7, 8, 9], such as the region near the edge of the south polar cap during the warm season [8, 10, 11]. This is the region where regional and global dust storms are frequently observed [10, 12].

Summary:
The observations summarized in this article show a strong correlation between anomalously high martian microwave brightness temperature and the occurrence of dust devils and/or dust storms. We suggest that the observed anomalies are caused by im-pulsive discharges between dust particles, triboelectri-cally charged during dust events. The understanding of electrical activity associated with dust events might have important implications for the chemistry of the martian atmosphere and the safe operation of Mars landers and rovers.
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/sixthmars2003/pdf/3191.pdf
The illusion from which we are seeking to extricate ourselves is not that constituted by the realm of space and time, but that which comes from failing to know that realm from the standpoint of a higher vision. -L.H.
User avatar
StefanR
 
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:31 pm
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Aurora on Mars

Unread postby StefanR » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:13 am

THE CASE OF THE ELECTRIC MARTIAN DUST DEVILS

Dust particles become electrified in dust devils when they rub against each
other as they are carried by the winds, transferring positive and negative
electric charge in the same way you build up static electricity if you shuffle
across a carpet. Scientists thought there would not be a high-voltage, largescale
electric field in dust devils because negatively charged particles would
be evenly mixed with positively charged particles, so the overall electric
charge in the dust devil would be in balance.
However, the team's observations indicate that smaller particles become
negatively charged, while larger particles become positively charged. Dust
devil winds carry the small, negatively charged particles high into the air,
while the heavier, positively charged particles remain near the base of the
dust devil. This separation of charges produces the large-scale electric field,
like the positive and negative terminals on a battery. Since the electrified
particles are in motion, and a magnetic field is just the result of moving
electric charges, the dust devil generates a magnetic field also.

If Martian dust grains have a variety of sizes and compositions, dust devils
on Mars should become electrified in the same way as their particles rub
against each other, according to the team (refer to Item 1 for an artist's
concept of an electrified Martian dust devil). We experience more static
electricity on dry days because water molecules draw charge from electrified
objects. Since the Martian atmosphere is extremely dry, the charging is
expected to be strong, as there will be few atmospheric water molecules to
steal charge from the dust grains. However, since the density of the Martian
atmosphere is much lower than Earth's, the near-surface electrical
conductivity of the Martian atmosphere is expected to be 100 times higher.
A
Martian dust devil will therefore take longer to fully charge, since the
increased atmospheric conductivity draws charge away from Martian dust
grains.
To date, none of the robotic Mars landers and rovers that have operated on
the Martian surface have experienced any consequences of this phenomena,
including the rovers Spirit and Opportunity. However, more complex landed
laboratories, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), slated to launch in
2009, may be far more sensitive to electrical disturbances than previous
missions. As such, this research is a key stepping stone to more advanced
robotic and human exploration of Mars.
Martian dust storms, which can cover the entire planet, are also expected to
be strong generators of electric fields (Item 3 shows dust suspended in the
Martian atmosphere as a result of Martian dust devil and dust storm activity).
The team hopes to measure a large dust storm on Earth and have
instruments to detect atmospheric electric and magnetic fields on future Mars
landers.

http://esse.engin.umich.edu/e-field/press/NASA-042004-TheCaseoftheElectricMartianDustDevils.pdf
The illusion from which we are seeking to extricate ourselves is not that constituted by the realm of space and time, but that which comes from failing to know that realm from the standpoint of a higher vision. -L.H.
User avatar
StefanR
 
Posts: 1371
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:31 pm
Location: Amsterdam

PreviousNext

Return to Electric Universe - Planetary Science

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests