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Mars Space Science

There's No Wind Chill On Mars 110

sciencehabit writes: Even though daytime temperatures in the tropics of Mars can be about –20C, a summer afternoon there might feel about the same as an average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis. That's because there's virtually no wind chill on the Red Planet, according to a new study — the first to give an accurate sense of what it might feel like to spend a day walking about on our celestial neighbor. "I hadn't really thought about this before, but I'm not surprised," says Maurice Bluestein, a biomedical engineer and wind chill expert recently retired from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. The new findings, he says, "will be useful, as people planning to colonize Mars need to know what they're getting themselves into."
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There's No Wind Chill On Mars

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  • by michelcolman ( 1208008 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @05:26AM (#47210375)

    Wind chill works because of evaporation on the skin, right? I don't think anyone is going to be walking around on Mars outside a biosphere, in a T-shirt. If you're wearing a space suit, wind chill is totally irrelevant or am I missing something?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @05:55AM (#47210481)

    By the way.... since there is essentially little or no air on mars... there is essentially no wind,
    so it follows and is quite expected that there would be no wind chill; however, this is not very interesting,
    because: humans cannot survive in this environment.

    Without assistance.
    It is highly interesting for a manned Mars mission. If temperature doesn't cause an issue you can make the protective-suit a lot more flexible.
    Just because the air on Mars is too thin to be breathable (And lacking oxygen.) doesn't mean that it will be directly harmful to your skin.
    If gloves are optional or could be made very thin then a lot of things will be easier.
    Walking around in scuba gear is preferable compared to walking around in a full pressure suit.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @07:32AM (#47210863)

    Somebody already beat me with the post about the surface of Mars being beyond the Armstrong limit [wikipedia.org].

    I'll just reinforce that by pointing out that the atmosphere at the surface of Mars is the same density as Earth's atmosphere at 34,600 m of altitude. Feeling a bit chilly is about the LAST thing you would have to worry about on Mars. Saliva vaporizing from the surface of your tongue, tears vaporizing in your eyes, and fluids evaporating from the alveoli in your lungs will be a bit bothersome if you open your mouth and eyes before you pass out from anoxia. Ever see the space-suit-looking contraption with full helmet that you have to wear in an SR-71? Well, the ceiling of the SR-71 is a good 8700 m below 34,600. Then there's the itsy bitsy detail that Mars' atmosphere is 96% CO2.

    An oxygen mask alone just won't do any good.

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @07:40AM (#47210899)

    The other problem is the entire wind chill factor is still being disputed about, here on earth. I could be -20F outside with no wind and the dry air alone would suck the moisture from your body.

    [raises hand] Nobody, but nobody, who has experienced a cold climate in both still air and high winds disputes the wind chill factor.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"