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Mars Science

The Bouncing Sands of Mars 22

Posted by samzenpus
from the hop-skip-and-a-kuato dept.
astroengine writes "New analysis of high-resolution images of Mars, taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, show sand dunes in an area known as Nili Patera are shifting as fast as some dunes on Earth — despite a dearth of high-speed winds. Scientists suspect it takes a big wind to get sand particles airborne, but once launched from the surface, they bounce around with ease, thanks to the planet's thin atmosphere and low gravity. 'It's kind of like playing golf on the moon — (the sand) goes really high and far compared to what it does on Earth. When it lands it can pick up really large speeds — even with low wind speeds — and splash a whole bunch of other particles to keep the process going,' Jasper Kok, with the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department at Cornell University, told Discovery News. This research has strong implications for the understanding of erosion processes on the Red Planet's surface and for future astronauts getting caught in a Martian sandstorm, presumably."
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The Bouncing Sands of Mars

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  • ...you mean...like..running water?

  • Wormsign!
  • After you read about this stuff, it's hard to be surprised by moving dirt...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racetrack_Playa [wikipedia.org]
    http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/05/08/0110259/scientists-solve-mystery-of-irelands-moving-boulders [slashdot.org]

  • 'It's kind of like playing golf on the moon â" (the sand) goes really high and far compared to what it does on Earth. When it lands it can pick up really large speeds â" even with low wind speeds â" and splash a whole bunch of other particles to keep the process going,' Jasper Kok,

    So.. Usually I'd think an object landing upon the ground would exchange some of its energy with the ground, thus reducing speed (relative to the ground). Apparently on Mars, when an object lands on the ground, it can pick up really large speeds (relative to the ground)?

    Does this dude work for the fringe division? I suppose I should RTFA before commenting.... not.

  • in astrogeology: Understanding the processes of erosion on the surface of a foreign planet. One presumes that it would naturally come if in consideration of the prospect of long-term habitation. Well, there is more to it than robots and photos after all, huh?

    • One presumes that it would naturally come *up* in consideration of the prospect of long-term habitation - up, like the stock the prices of successful NewSpace firms, for instance.

    • I think you mean "Areology" specifically about Mars. Xenogeology would be foreign planet study, but the Geo prefix specifically applies to Earth. Therein lies the problem with basing modern scientific parlance on ancient languages ;)

      • by Convector (897502)

        The most common general term is "Planetary Geology". Most of my colleagues (IAAPS; PS="Planetary Scientist") don't usually use the planet-specific prefixes that often. It's much more common to say "Martian Geology" than to say "Areology", or "Lunar Geography" instead of "Selenography". I suppose that it's slightly inaccurate (given that "geo-" does technically mean "earth"), but it sounds much more natural to speak this way. There's also the problem that you'd need to modify each geo- term for each plan

        • Thanks for the clarification :) I was just being a smartarse (someone being a smartarse on the internet? NEVER!) Using Greek prefixes would also get tricky when you move outside of the solar system...

  • by XiaoMing (1574363) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @12:14AM (#39950469)

    This research has strong implications for the understanding of erosion processes on the Red Planet's surface and for future cosmonauts getting caught in a Martian sandstorm, presumably.

    Fixed that for you.

  • NASA has now caught up to where Science-Fiction writers have been for decades. They could have rung up their local physics department and asked them about the effects of atmosphere on the terminal velocity of sand particles.

  • That's just Sandworms farting.

  • Sand Bouncing Castles!

"Who cares if it doesn't do anything? It was made with our new Triple-Iso-Bifurcated-Krypton-Gate-MOS process ..."

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