Dust demons on Mars.  What is this phenomenon?

dust devils It is an interesting phenomenon that can be both beautiful and dangerous for the inhabitants of our planet. Meanwhile, for robots that explore the surface red planet So far they have proven to be useful. Thanks to it, it was possible to save two missions of the NASA Mars rover.

The US space agency just published time-lapse movie It was made by the rover, which has been conducting historical research on Mars for more than a year. It should lead to the discovery of traces of life that once existed, and perhaps even today. The robot takes pictures of its surroundings almost continuously.

Recently managed to register Dust Demonsroll close to it. Although these phenomena are very frequent on Mars, capturing them in pictures is not easy. Scientists plan to make the best images of demons in history in the near future in order to better understand and understand their performance in Martian conditions.

As a result dust demons arise, as on Earth Big differences in temperature occur in a small area. The grains of dust and carbon dioxide heat up from the sun’s rays, and the flow of cold air causes large temperature differences. These are the ideal conditions for the formation of dust demons.

It has happened in the past that a group of these air vortices took up a large area and picked up dust from the surface that was blown on by NASA robots. This not only cut off the solar panels from sunlight, but also damaged the electronics. This is how the mission ended unexpectedly opportunity rover. Admittedly, in his case it was a global dust storm, but the effect is one.

However, important dust demons can also help, as was the case with soul rover. Its panels were covered in dust, but a dust demon, rolling near the robot, completely unexpectedly removed the dust from the solar panels and caused the rover to get electricity.

Meanwhile, you don’t have to worry about the power shortage of the persevering rover because it is powered by thermoelectric generatorBut demons make it difficult to complete missions and conduct experiments. However, it is completely different in the case of the helicopter, since its flights may end in disaster if such phenomena occur during it.

Global dust storms that occur from time to time on Mars are due, among other things, to dust demons. Thousands of them raise dust high above the surface for months Atmospheric winds spread it all over the planet. Therefore, although these phenomena are well understood on Earth, they are very different in the case of Mars.

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